PNP vaccine confidence at 63% but rising

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    ONLY 63 percent of the more than 200,000 personnel of the Philippine National Police want to be inoculated so far with the COVID-19 vaccine, PNP deputy chief for administration Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said yesterday.

    Eleazar, concurrent chief of the PNP Administrative Support to COVID Operations Task Force, wants “at least 70 percent” to be open to inoculation and this will be achieved through “vaccine education.”

    He said the 63 percent figure is an improvement from last week’s from 51 percent.

    “Going up pa yan. Kailangan lang may info dissemination on the importance of vaccination… Mababa pa rin; at least 70% dapat. Makakarating tayo doon through vaccine education being spearheaded by the PNP Health Service (It is still going up. We just need to have info dissemination on the importance of vaccination… It is still low; it should be at least 70 percent . We can do it through vaccine education being spearheaded by the PNP Health Service), he said.

    The PNP and the rest of the uniformed personnel are among the top five priority vaccine recipients, led by frontline health workers and indigent senior citizens.

    Aside from the PNP, also under the uniformed personnel sector are the Armed Forces, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Citizens Armed Force Geographical Unit.

    This developed as President Duterte, according to his spokesman Harry Roque, has agreed to be vaccinated in public to help convince the people to trust vaccines.

    Roque said Duterte recognized that the public is waiting for “signs” from government officials that the vaccines are safe and effective.

    He said the administration is also now encouraging government officials to be vaccinated to inspire confidence among the public.

    “I think the President has said that he will now have himself vaccinated publicly. He only has to announce when it will be done,” Roque said.

    Duterte, who falls under the priority sector of senior citizens, previously has said he and his Cabinet should be vaccinated last to ensure that more Filipinos are inoculated considering the limited vaccine supply.

    A November 23 to December 2 survey of Pulse Asia showed that 47 percent of Filipinos refused to be inoculated and 21 percent were undecided.

    Pulse Asia said 84 percent of those who refused to be vaccinated said they are not sure if the vaccine is safe while 7 percent said it might not be free and 4 percent said the vaccine could be costly or expensive. Five percent felt that a vaccine is not needed to combat COVID-19.

    A December 9 to 13 survey done in Metro Manila by the OCTA Research Group said only 25 percent of respondents are willing to get a vaccine while 28 percent said they would not get the vaccine. Forty-seven percent said have not decided whether they want to receive the vaccine or not.

    Both surveys were released in January.

    Eleazar, in a press briefing in Camp Crame, said the PNP started an online survey last week and found out 49 percent of policemen want do not want to be vaccinated.

    “But as of today, only 37 percent said they were having doubts. So in a span of one week, 12 percent or around 26,000 had a change of heart or had a change of perspective on this,” he said.

    Eleazar said the PNP Health Service’s information dissemination campaign hopes to address the “doubts of the policemen, change their initial feedback or sentiments.”

    “They want to have additional information and of course we have to inform them that the objective of this vaccination by the national government is to obtain herd immunity,” said Eleazar. – With Jocelyn Montemayor