Between chemistry and comedy: the most unknown history of Heriberto García, director (s) of the ISP

By : ujikiu / On : 02/11/2022

In 2014, a few days after Heriberto García finished his stand-up classes with one of the members of the Comedy Club, Patricio Pepper, he and his fellow workshops had a couple of presentations with the audience.

The first was at the Cachafaz bar, where friends and family of the candidates for Standaperos attended mass.The routines were a success.The public-barr who reached one hundred people, cheered and applauded the jokes of the participants, including those of the Routine of Heriberto García, which consisted of counting jokes on particular names and also on how a pharmaceutical chemist and director of an office, howHe had a double life as a comedian.

The routine sought to mix both concepts, thus jokes arose as those remembered by the ISP director:

"I talked about why Heriberto called me," he explains, "that my mother had put me like this, but my dad was simply called Juan (laughs).Then a topic was generated there.Then came the history of complex names.Type jokes: In my office there was a doctor named Armando Cuevas ... who worked at the Sapu (🐸) ".

The success of the debutant brought with him the effervescence and adrenaline that means being able to make others laugh.Later, naturally, came wanting to do it again.The challenge overturned to make a routine in front of an unknown audience.What ended up specifying in a barbecue.

There Heriberto lived the other face of comedy.Together with some of his fellow workshops - with whom he prepared the show - he received samples of disapproval of the diners who, while devoured their loins, chunchules and drank their drinks, expressed their discontent at the tip of pifias and insults.

"There did not very well us the truth - says Heriberto García - because in the barbecue people people go to something else.There were nightmare average jokes, even one of ours did not want to get on because it gave it as an iron.They did not throw things on us, but there were jokes worthy of what Fome were telling you, but there we left what can come out without so much experience ”.

The pifias and the bitter drink of a bad show, did not discourage Heriberto García.Bad that bad, being on stage was one of the objectives I had pursued since he was a child.To laugh was part of his life and something that he always projected his career in the Public Health Service, which years later would make him the Director (s) of the Public Health Institute that he had to face and lead the processof vaccination in the Covid-19 pandemic.

But ... how are both worlds mix?Can you laugh in the middle of a global crisis?

The Matthew that sang Miguelo

The childhood of Heriberto García, deputy director of the ISP, had little space for laughter and show.His early years in the Villa Cena de San Bernardo, which for those years was a housing complex where he lived mostly air force officials, was more linked to desks and books, than to jokes.While he could play with his neighbors to the hiding place or Tombo, most of the time Heriberto had to pass it by studying.

“My parents and especially my mother were very demanding;They told me that I had to achieve a profession and get ahead.I went out to the street, they had very much in the Matthew wave.Many times I looked like the other children came out and gave me a little can, but I understood that that also has to do with what I am currently.For example: in the block where we lived there are only two that we managed to enter the university, the others not, ”recalls Garcia–.

At the Sacred Heart School, where he studied, far from the perimeter of his mother's severe eye, Heriberto was able to develop his artistic passions.Despite not having an outstanding vocal record, it was registered at each festival of the voice that was organized.There he took the stage to imitate some of the varied idols of the time such as Gustavo Cerati, Jorge Gónzalez or Miguelo.

​-Was that trauma that they locked you to study unleashed you wanted to show yourself?

-I don't know, but what I know is that I liked to show me.

-And what did you sing?

-Cancions of the time: Soda Stereo, viruses, the songs of Miguelo ...

-"Schoolgirl"?That wave or not?

-Hahaha, the songs of the time of a small goat of the 80-90 that grew with giant Saturday, that the most modern thing I showed you was a goat like miguel click ... it was the modern.

-How the trap now?

-Of course, and those were the songs that one sang.So when they auditions for the voice festival you ended up singing those songs to show you.And of course, we were there with Pancho Puelma, Alberto Plaza, but there I don't want to fall elsewhere (laughs).

-Do you chance your songs?

-Yes, obviously the songs of Plaza were sung at that time.And obvious the songs of the prisoners.One did not look at the topic of the square sides and the other side of the prisoners, but one sang no more and that was very nice.There was no thing that you like an artist entering a political bias, at that time they were only singers of which one could enjoy their songs.

The dream of singing lasted little, but his desire to show himself did not decay.In secondary education he began to participate in a theater workshop where he used to play villains.

One of the participations that he remembers most was when he personified Clemente Díaz, one of the characters in the work "Topography of a nude": a press magnate who intended to build a newspaper on the grounds of low -income people.

“This work was so strong that even the professor took her out, to the Mapocho river when he still did not do the park of the Kings and it was a dump.And there we rehearse so that I would understand what a land was, what was a dump taken, ”he says.

His actor's facet dazzled him, so, when choosing what to study at the University he opted for theater as the first option, leaving chemistry and pharmacy (which was called basic cycle) in the second, since he had a very goodAverage in that subject at school.

"My first option was theater at UC.And in the Catholic, not in Chile, regarding the fact that the best known television series of that time were actors from that university and all the professors of that university were from Channel 13, ”says Heriberto, who even participated in a test of admission.

-How was that test?

-I the theater admission test was made by Héctor Noguera and Gabriel Núñez.Of that size were the actors I faced in the test.I was in the 120st place in the race where only 27 entered, a butcher shop basically.I managed to get to place 29, that is, two quotas were missing to enter.

-What did you have to do?

Entre la química y la comedia: la historia más desconocida de Heriberto García, director (s) del ISP

-He had the test with my best friend, Andrés Gutiérrez.The last test was the representation of a work, "the semi -percedent paradise": he made God and I from Angelito, the two roles were good.

-How was that angel?

-The little angel I did was in comedy type, which was randomly, without direction.Here they measure you singing, physical expressions.How you talk, how to read, reading comprehension, etc..But the final test was the one that gave you the most score and in that performance were all the little angels dressed in white with the aura, but I dressed as a gardener;As was the semi -percedent paradise, I was the gardener of God, that liked the teachers, that's why I stayed where I stayed.

Despite what he remembers as a good presentation, Heriberto or his friend managed to enter theater.With a left frustration, the first became a journalist and the second in Chemist in Pharmacy.

"Felipe Berrios told me that I had a gift"

In parallel to his studies and chemistry branches at the Catholic University, Heriberto García enrolled in extracurricular theater workshops and also in Missions Conference with which he toured Chile.

He also ventured into a student policy, being part of the union movement that lost the elections in front of whom is today the rector of the Academy of Christian Humanism, Álvaro Ramis.

From his university era he remembers a day of missions in Curanilahue, where he resumed his artistic facet imitating artists who were fashionable in the 90s.There, he says, he received a booth that marked him for life.

“Father Felipe Berrios accompanied us in a mission.There he told me that I had the gift of making him laugh, giving me a thing as a half ‘power’ in terms that a priest as important as he is told, ”he says.

-What context said it

-In some missions in Curanilahue, by 95-96.Within those missions we also made people shows;I imitated Luis Miguel.

-LOL.Did the singer's facet follow?

-But with background music if po, it was a “I am” of dubb the night".

-Well pop.

-Yes, and well in those nonsense that one does because you go to missions in this region full of what is coal, mud, I went with white pants, black shirt.;Luis Miguel Po.Then I found Luis Miguel's imitation doing shows.Thanks to that, I was told that I had that facility to make laugh because it was a bit ridiculous, and of course, these things like they mark you and one feels like this little taste.

Work and escape

After titling, Heriberto García followed the path that pharmaceutical chemists usually travel: work in a pharmacy.First he did it in the extinct South Cone chain and then at a branch of Cruz Verde.

In those years he met his wife, who was his partner in one of the branches.Also, he quickly realized that he did not want to spend his life in a job like that, so he decidedCondes, then in the Ministry of Health and then as director of the director of the Dr Family Health Center.Raúl Brañes de San Bernardo, commune from where he has never left.

Remember to have enjoyed the experience of leading a primary health center, but for those years the reality that witnessed day by day hitting it.

“People do not want half health, they want health now, they want the doctor now, the medicine.So, as they want immediate solutions;Of course, they speak first with the Head of Sector and everything, but if it is not responded properly;They go and reach the director's door (...) In the office I confirmed strong dramas: rapes, health problems, people who don't get time.These totally complex situations were a strong emotional load, ”recalls Heriberto García, who says he entered comedy classes as an escape.

-Was it at that time that you decided to make stand-up?

-Yes, it was when I took the Stand Up Comedy workshop in the cachafaz with the pepper duck.

-Did you like the pepper duck?

-The truth ... it was what touched me no more.

-And what comedian do you like?

-Oh, at that time I had seen the show show in Viña and that's when I said I wanted, thinking that he was going to be my teacher (laughs), but well ...

The ISP team

Almost five years after his experience at the stand-up and in the office in San Bernardo, Heriberto García became the subrogant director of the Public Health Institute.His arrival at office in August 2020 coincided with the largest health crisis of the last 100 years and, in the following months, with the beginning of the vaccination process.

The role of the ISP in the coronavirus pandemic was key: from there the vaccines that have already been administered to more than 90% of the population were analyzed and distributed.A process that has been internationally highlighted.

Regarding its role in the work and development of the ISP, Heriberto highlights his team, professionals from science and other areas that were key in the vaccination process.

One of those people is Verónica Vergara, Subrogant Chief of the Pharmacovigilance Subdepartment or, in simple words, the person in charge of the evaluation and investigation of all possible adverse effects that may occur around vaccination.

“The role we have is to evaluate and do investigation and monitor.I remember that there was a patient who had a reaction the day after being vaccinated.I had a history of food allergies.He had garlic allergy and he had a reaction for eating a sauce with garlic.They notified us that it was for the vaccine, but after monitoring we discovered that it was for garlic, ”says Vergara.And add:.“To say that vaccines are safe, it does not mean that they do not have any adverse effect.All medications have a potential to generate a reaction.What is measured is that the benefits we get when using a vaccine are much larger than possible risks ”.

Regarding the toughest days of the pandemic, Vergara remembers situations to the limit, such as when an important part of the officials had to work on December 24 and 20, 2020, for the approval of the first lot of vaccines.Or of international meetings days that began at dawn.

The professional ensures that the good humor within her team was key for ISP officials to maintain high performance during the pandemic.He says that even with his companions he shared memes about the vaccination process: “I got a meme that said the vaccines had masculine, then according to the effectiveAll others were muscular ".

Another official who enjoyed some memes was José Crisostomo, evaluator of biological products and in charge of coordination and quality evaluation in vaccines.Remember one in particular, when Pfizer vaccines were remained refrigerated inside a ice cream -type pen container.

But beyond the jokes, Crisostomo highlights the role of the ISP during the vaccine validation process: “People do not know all the work behind.With vaccines we have been stricter than with medications.All information has been asked for laboratories.So when people speak and say this issue is of no use, one thinks how little they know about what was done.In addition, this is not something that we do alone, we are not just an agency, this was approved by the FDA in the United States, the WHO supports us.Then saying that vaccines are not useful is difficult to deal with ”.

The pharmaceutical chemist, who still performs quality tests to each batch of vaccine that arrives, ensures that he frequently receives congratulations from his colleagues around the world.“I still have contact with many people outside, with friends from Egypt, Greece and Spain.They always tell me: ‘We just started with the second dose’.They could not believe that here it will begin with the fourth (...) The agencies also highlight our role, Pfizer himself, with whom we are super demanding, tell us that we are one of the few countries in the southern cone that we ask for more information, that we stuck the tooth more and we bid.We want to be sure that it is a quality medication ".

Work within the ISP has not only been led by experts in science or health areas.Felipe Saavedra is the head of the Legal Advisory Unit and had a hinge rol when lookingThe purpose of raising proposals for regulatory improvements around vaccination.

“The reality of Pandemia has forced us to have to get creative in the design of policies and to conceive administrative acts.We have had to innovate in terms of legal management and trying to cover some regulatory pitfalls that exist due to the inexperience of a pandemic.This is because the norm was not necessarily prepared for a scenario like this, so it has had to be built in facts, ”explains Saavedra.

While his work is rather technical and formal, the lawyer highlights the role of Standapero of his boss: “If one looks abstract the management of the ISP in the pandemia, one can analyze it coldly identifying stress and pressure for things to come outFast, but indeed the work team that has been built and headed by the director has several virtues and that has to do with his stamp.And that in terms of generating spaces for distension, humor and lightness, in the good sense of the word ".

The same thinks Johans Brugmann, subrogant head of the Customer and Users Care Subdepartment, the area is responsible for making contact with customers, users and the citizenship that receives vaccines.In addition to receiving all laboratory information, it is a true entrance and medication gateway.

“I in the internal order, do not work in the health area.But our users and customers had to operate.We had to adapt all our processes to be remote and all that with very few people, ”recalls Johans.“We never stopped, it was fun to see the empty streets and get here with a tired face.I remember then that Heriberto always threw my size for my tired look, and one did not touch another to laugh.When vaccine shipments arrived I was running, checking the shipments, seeing reference numbers.Varías sometimes we entered the same time, or we were late.So at night I threw the size back for their dark circles that were seen on the mask.Those are small things that serve to maintain the environment ".

"I'm going to the public contest to continue as director"

On January 15 Heriberto García published a letter to the director in La Tercera, entitled "We break the chain".In it he explains how a greater vaccination coverage would result in a cut in the infection chain.

“Today, Chile has more than 90% vaccination coverage against COVID-19.Under these conditions, if your disease is spread it will be mild and if you spread another, the virus will be even weaker.But, in addition, it increases the probability that this infection generates less symptoms or that these are imperceptible.A third contagion will have less viral load and thus the process will be repeated until the infection chain will be cut thanks to more strengthened immune systems.On the other hand, those who do not vaccinate or do not reinforce a bridge that strengthens the transmission of the virus, ”he wrote.

With respect to the high number of vaccinated, Heriberto García highlights some key points that for him influenced high confidence in the vaccine or that resulted in an incentive, such as the mobility pass, the realization of a streaming for the vaccine validation processand also the incorporation of non -governmental actors in the processes.

"We said yes or yes that this should involve external actors that go beyond those who usually work here, then we involve epidemiologists who were not in commissions before," Garcia recalls.

-Professionals outside the government?

-Of course, we incorporated people who were also clearly opposition to the government on duty, because it was important to generate a complete and transversal look.

-The ISP role has been highlighted internationally, by institutions such as WHO or FDA, what sensations does that leave you?

-Caric satisfaction has to do with that;in which I managed to lead and that people followed that leadership.But I feel this satisfaction more team in that regard.I always let the boys know;You make the paste and let them know yet without public recognition.For example, when the drug-vigilance occurs and people want to have news about it, I prefer that the director of drug-surveillance talk so that she also positions himself in the role she had, which was super important.

-I did your column of the third how important it is to increase the percentage of vaccinated people?How do you convince the anti vaccine movement?

-The theories have been talking about them since September 11 with the fall of the twin towers, about that there is something strange, that I do not know what.Everyone is talking about this rare, little less that there is a kind of sect that manages everything in the world;Those conspiracy theories grab strength in social networks and people follow them.That makes people have all those distrust.So what to show here?The results, and the results What do they tell you?They make you.

-What was what we had to have at one time, right?

-Exact, we would have more deceased.And that 10% who do not want to vaccinate have to look at that data, and have to understand them: not vaccinate not only affects their own health, but it puts the rest at risk.Why?For the same thing I wrote in the column: because you are not going to break the infection chain.Look, if I am infected and you are vaccinated, probably (and has been seen) is that it is very unlikely that you get to you because the viral load with which I am transmitting the virus will be minor.But, if I am not vaccinated, even if you are, I'm going to infect you, generating that chain.

-The anti -cacuna movement has starred public episodes of intolerance.Have you been the subject of that?

-Little bit.

-Have you not placed you as an enemy?

-In some twits, there are some unpleasant comments, but it has not been something like a threat.Although there was a time when a guy told me: "We are going to find out where you live, and we will sign a letter where you will be responsible for the death of children".But esofue a twitter, a madman out there that appears.

-And you didn't get up alert in front of that?

-It's not to take it as a threat;Yes it would have been something like: "I'm going to the house ..." or my children's school, but here it was like the typical tantrum on social networks.

The Chile in which laughter no longer abounds in the mouth of fools

-To round this unknown facet of yours, how is humor interpreted within your position?

-The humor is a way of being able to approach people, to break the ice, to get people to see more empathy what is being done, and it is also a tool to communicate.Because when one lives with humor he expresses himself in his features and that makes people see you as with more credibility than a person who is so serious, so grim, that it seems that he was talking to the ground.In conclusion, this facet of the stand up serves to stop in front of the cameras without any problem, and express myself both physically and verbally.

-In Chile for many years, the thought predominated that "laughter abounds in the mouth of the fools" has you had to face that from a position that is traditionally more serious?

-In the current Chile, no, perhaps in ancient Chile.But today people values those soft skills, while in the other time these characteristics were not valued.Then I had at some time that they did not let me be head of a voluntary work community because it was very “chactero”, or jobs in which I was not because they did the interview and I added a little humor sometimes.But that changed.

-We are a new government, what are your plans within the ISP?

-​​Desde el punto de vista técnico, el ISP no cambia las jefaturas, se mantienen porque son de alta dirección pública.In my case I have three years as Chief of Anamed (National Medicines Agency), which culminates on February 18, 2023.I am today the Subrogant Director of the ISP, simply because Anamed's Headquarters has that sub -otance.Then what the next government has to do is call the ISP director's contest and at that time I have to return to my head of Anamed if it will not win this contest, because there is also the possibility that I will postulate andI win that contest.

-And how big is the possibility of doing so?

-I'm going to postulate;I don't know ... that depends on all other candidates.

-What is that the (s) in office?

-Of course, if it was elected, the (s) is erased.The S of the Supervacunas.