By Marivir R. Montebon
New York – The new year ushered in with frontliners saying it is time for continued self care and mindfulness.
Dr. Laura Garcia, a nurse-educator at the College of Mt. St. Vincent, said that those who have had their covid19 vaccines should continue doing health precautions such as wearing masks, frequent hand washing and social distancing.
Vaccines and Self Care
“Just continue with the self care protocol. I do believe in vaccines. Although what we have now were created in a short period of time, having an efficacy of 95% and 91% is better than to have no protection at all,” she said.
Garcia spoke at the digital show Issues & Inspiration on January 2, 2021 on Facebook and YouTube platforms. She is currently the chairperson of the Filipino-American organization NAFFAA NY (National Federation of Filipino American Associations – New York) and a member of the Manhattan Borough council.
Garcia encouraged the public to cooperate in the government’s vaccination efforts in order to reach herd immunity. “We had vaccines when we were little. We know that vaccines work. Once we have it, we just have to continue with our self care practices,” she emphasized.
In the spring of 2020, Garcia’s daughter Tessa and husband contracted coronavirus and were able to survive its brutality. She helped them through in a remote manner by monitoring the couple and their two children who were five and three years old.
“When I learned that my daughter was sick with covid19, my world was crashing around me. But my daughter was very strong-willed,” she recounted.
In the latter part of 2020, her ex-husband in Cebu, Philippines succumbed to complications of covid 19 after his brother died of the covid19 complications as well.
“It was a horrible year for me. We really need to continue doing our self care protocol and cooperate,” she stressed.
Lawyer Elizabeth Cueva, who was also a guest during the I&I New Year’s episode, concurred with Garcia about the 2020’s great challenges. “2020 is the normal vision. But the year 2020 was anything but normal.”
Cueva, who works at the New York state’s human rights office, memorialized her aunt, Josefa Cueva, a retired nurse in Miami who decided to volunteer at a hospital when covid19 cases rose in Florida. “She contracted covid19 and was not able to return home in Samar province.”
Cueva lives with her old parents in the city, making her anxious about ‘bringing home the virus’. “The coronavirus has made me realize to go back to the basics of self care and reaching out to our nuclear families. I also meditate to be mindful of myself and my surroundings.”
The right to say no to the covid19 vaccine
As of press time, New York State is conducting more covid19 tests and opening hospital beds for vaccination sites across the state. Appointments with hospitals are required. (Go to ny.gov/vaccine for more details).
Asked if at this time people can refuse to get a vaccine, Cueva explained that there may be three ways to refuse it. These are: through a union which could negotiate against mandatory vaccination among employees in a collective bargaining agreement; a documented medical reason or disability necessitating that a reasonable accommodation be provided by the employer; and third, based on one’s religious beliefs.
Cueva, however cited caution that once management deems an employee’s refusal to take a vaccine is “undue burden” for the workplace and its operations, it could be a ground for termination.
In cases of severe side effects, manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna could not be sued, said Cueva, because these companies have been given the “emergency use authorization.”
Under the Public Readiness Act, however, there is a mandated $50K benefit per year if one suffers from side effects and a death benefit of $375K for surviving family.
Both Cueva and Garcia emphasized the need to read from reputable sources of information for proper guidance about public health and vaccination.
Boosting one’s immune system
Meanwhile, health entrepreneur Nieva Quezon Burdick shared during the show that boosting one’s immune system at this time of the pandemic is the primary and personal responsibility for all.
She had mentioned taking regular doses of Vitamin A, B, C, D, and zinc as recommended by the CDC and eating good food as well.
Issues & Inspiration, produced by OSM! Online Magazine, Synergy Production and Marketing, and nonprofit WICCAFE, is hosted by Grace Labaguis and this writer.#