OVP asks admin: If vaccine communication plan is in place, why do Pinoys hesitate?
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo’s spokesperson has asked administration officials why surveys show that many Filipinos still hesitate to be immunized against Covid-19 if a proper communication plan is already in place.
In a tweet on Monday, lawyer Barry Gutierrez questioned his counterpart presidential spokesperson Harry Roque about the latter’s assertion that they have already created a communication plan to clarify matters about the vaccines — as Robredo stressed the need for one.
A recent survey from polling firm Pulse Asia showed that nearly half of Filipinos — 47 percent — would not have themselves vaccinated against the 2019 novel coronavirus strain even if they are free of charge.
“Kung ‘ginagawa’ na pala, at 47% pa rin ng mga Pilipino ang ayaw magpa-bakuna, at 32% lang ang bukas, hindi ba kulang ang ginagawa? Ano ba hinahabol niyo, participation award?” Gutierrez asked in a tweet.
(If they are already doing it, and 47 percent of Filipinos do not want to be vaccinated, and only 32 percent are open to the idea, doesn’t that mean that something is lacking? What are you after for a participation award?)
Roque’s reaction came after Robredo said in her Sunday radio program that the government should craft an efficient communications plan to bring back public trust in vaccines, especially as recent surveys indicated that many Filipinos would not have themselves vaccinated.
“Kailangan bigyan ng focus iyong kung papaano ba kukumbinsehin iyong tao na mas — totoo na lahat naman ng bakuna, may mga risks ‘di ba, pero dapat mahalaga na maintindihan ng tao na iyong benefits nito mas marami kaysa sa risks na hinaharap,” Robredo said.
(There’s a need to focus on how to convince people that all vaccines have risks, but it should be important for people to understand that the benefits outweigh the risks.)
“Kaya kailangan, hanapan ng maayos na communications plan. Gawan ng maayos na communications plan papaano ba mababalik iyong tiwala ng tao sa bakuna,” she added.
She said a good communications plan is needed that will restore everyone’s trust in the vaccine.
But Roque said during an earlier press briefing that the government is already on it — a similar response to Robredo’s previous suggestions that the government is allegedly already doing.
Different surveys have come out to assess whether Filipinos would welcome the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines. Research group Social Weather Stations said in a survey last November that 66 percent of Filipinos are willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine — higher numbers than what Pulse Asia recorded. However, it still shows that over 30 percent do not want themselves immunized.
A separate study from the OCTA Research — a collaboration between local academicians and scientists studying the pandemic’s trends — noted that only 25 percent of Metro Manila residents are willing to be inoculated.
Observers, including the Vice President, believe that the scare over the Covid-19 vaccine c be attributed to the Dengvaxia issue’s effects, as the deaths attributed to the controversial dengue vaccine have lessened the public’s confidence in vaccines.
However, the Department of Science and Technology pleaded for people to trust the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine screening process, claiming that they would only allow safe and effective vaccines. [ac]
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