We lost an uncle in the Philippines to COVID-19 last fall. A few friends also died of COVID. Our family and friends were under very strict lockdowns, unable to travel unless they had a private vehicle, and even then only within the boundaries of their town without special permission to go outside.
In spite of these precautions, and great discipline in observing them — no one complained about wearing masks! — the delta variant has now spread and is taking a great toll.
Every day we have news of other friends who are very sick or who have died. Three sisters in one family we know died within a week: one on Monday, the second on Wednesday, the third on Friday. Everyone is waiting for vaccines from the U.S. and Europe, as it appears the Chinese vaccine is not very effective. And those vaccines are finally arriving, but so late.
I am protected against serious illness and death by the vaccines I received this spring. Rather than receive a booster, I’d like to see that dose go to people in the Philippines and other countries crying out for help. This is what is right. It’s also what is smart, for the longer we leave coronavirus to mutate in unvaccinated populations, the more sure we are to one day receive a more deadly variant here.
Of course, it is not so simple that if I don’t take the booster, the dose will be sent overseas. My point is that it is our moral responsibility, and also in our best interest, to quickly send these vaccines to the places in the world that need them most.