IT is just as well that the government and the private sector through survey firms like the SWS are taking the public’s pulse on the acceptability of vaccines as an invasive treatment or preventive procedure for them to lead relatively healthy lives.
A recent survey by the Department of Interior and Local Government showed that only 3 out of 10 individuals in Metro Manila are willing to be vaccinated against the coronavirus 2019 disease.
The OCTA Research Group in December 2020 had a slightly lower rate of acceptance among respondents, which is one-fourth or one out of four respondents who said that they would be willing to get the shot if the COVID-19 vaccine was available. It also showed that the greatest number of respondents at 47 percent cannot say if they will have themselves vaccinated or not. The rest, 28 percent, rejected the idea of being vaccinated. Some 600 adults were the respondents.
‘Changing the citizens’ attitude on vaccines and reassuring them that the government is following globally accepted protocols and procedures in fighting the virus should be the priority task of all officials, from the national to the local level.’
Pulse Asia, meanwhile, made a survey a little earlier than OCTA Research Group, and found out the Filipinos’ dominant sentiment about COVID-19 vaccines, taken from some 2,400 adults. This poll said 95 percent of Filipinos were aware of the development of the vaccines, but only 32 percent were willing to be inoculated, and 47 percent were not. The remaining 21 percent were undecided.
With the government’s vaccine procurement program in the news in all media, social and traditional, every day and night, it is appalling that many people still are not convinced that the vaccine is good for them, and that it will provide ample protection from the deadly virus.
Filipinos clearly have not recovered from the scandal and confidence-damper of a couple of years ago — the Dengvaxia controversy wherein the French company Sanofi admitted that the product could worsen the disease in people who had not previously been exposed to dengue, leading to the banning of Dengvaxia, and court cases in connection with the deaths of more than 200 children.
It will be an uphill climb for government officials like Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar, Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III, and top officials of the Department of Health to change overnight the reckoning of Filipinos about vaccines in general.
Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire correctly pointed out that the “messaging has to be very concrete and evidence-based to encourage people to receive the vaccines.”
Changing the citizens’ attitude on vaccines and reassuring them that the government is following globally accepted protocols and procedures in fighting the virus should be the priority task of all officials, from the national to the local level.