National gov’t told: Raise Filipinos’ confidence in vaccines

Presently, Filipinos’ confidence in vaccines is still not encouraging after the ‘Dengvaxia’ disaster since the apparent unresolved issues continued to traumatize many parents or guardians whose schoolchildren had died allegedly due to the inoculation at the height of the government’s anti-dengue campaign.

Hence, trust seems to be the last thing for us to inculcate in our mind right now as far as vaccination is concerned.

Clearly, with the availability of vaccines against the COVID-19 by June or earlier this year, Filipinos are still quite skeptical about inoculation and a big number of the people are unconvinced to get vaccinated.

With this mindset, the national government should step up in its gigantic effort by communicating sufficiently and clearly its vaccine roadmap to the public.

Indeed, education via various platforms is the key formula for the public to understand well the safety and benefits of vaccines (regardless of the brand), as well as communication and partnership with the right institutions.

Senator Bong Go, in his press release, said that aside from ensuring availability, accessibility and affordability of vaccines for all Filipinos, it is also the responsibility of the government to update the public on the status of procurement — as well as plans on the eventual distribution and use — until full recovery through ‘herd immunity’ is achieved when the COVID-19 vaccine roadmap is properly implemented.

According to Go, the national vaccine roadmap against COVID-19 would facilitate the vaccine supply chain and ensure the equitable and systematic provision of the vaccine once it is available.

At this stage, the government has been exploring multiple sources of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure access of Filipinos to safe and effective vaccines to overcome the ongoing pandemic.

So far, the following are known companies that developed vaccines against COVID-19: Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute, Sinopharm, Sinovac, Moderna, and Bharat Biotech.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), vaccine hesitancy is driven by complacency and a lack of convenience and confidence in vaccines. The spread of vaccine misinformation has greatly contributed to decreasing public confidence in the safety and efficacy of vaccines. (is)