Only 1 in 4 Metro Manila residents willing to take COVID-19 vaccine — OCTA survey

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 05 2021 11:11 AM | Updated as of Jan 06 2021 10:18 AM

Commuters head to the relcoated bus loading and unloading area along Agham Road in Quezon City on October 15, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Only 25 percent of Metro Manila residents are willing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according a study by the OCTA Group.

The remaining 75 percent of respondents are mostly undecided (47 percent) or unwilling to be vaccinated (28 percent).

Table from OCTA Research Group

“We were also surprised that despite being the most informed region where discussion about this has taken place that a lot of people are still not sure or not willing to have themselves vaccinated. This is a product of a lack of information,” Prof. Ranjit Rye of OCTA Group told ABS-CBN News.

The non-commissioned scientific poll, which surveyed 600 people from Metro Manila aged 18 and above from December 9 to 13, 2020, has a sampling error of ±4%.

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The respondents were asked about their readiness to be vaccinated “if a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 is already available.”

Among socio-economic classes, those in classes ABC were more willing to be vaccinated. Meanwhile, a third of those unwilling to be vaccinated were from class E. More than half of class ABC are also undecided or “can’t say” if they will have themselves vaccinated.

Mathematics professor Dr. Guido David said it might be because classes ABC have more information about vaccines in general.

“They are more updated and more confident. For socioeconomic classes DE, uncertainty is higher because they don’t have access to as much information,” he said in Filipino.

David said there is still a chance for the 47% undecided to be convinced of the merits of vaccination.

“I think the public needs to see more credible proof that it is safe and effective,” he said. “They want to see for themselves. They want to see the results of those who were vaccinated in other countries.”

Government should launch an information drive on vaccines to increase the public's confidence, David told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo Wednesday.

"Importante d'yan 'yung public trust sa government kaya importante na 'yung government natin maka-secure ng vaccine that is safe and mataas ang confidence ng mga tao dito sa vaccine para ma-maintain ang public trust sa government," he added.

(Public trust in government is also important so the latter must secure a vaccine that is safe and has a high confidence from the public.)

The survey did not include questions on why respondents would like or would not like to be vaccinated.

Both David and Rye said the Dengvaxia issue a few years back had affected the confidence of Filipinos on vaccines but trust can be regained through an information drive.

Rye said local government units should also consider conducting surveys of their constituents.

“That’s a big chunk of a population in the NCR uncertain about getting vaccinated in the first place. That uncertainty has to be dealt with because we are already deploying resources,” he said, referring to LGUs allotting funds for COVID-19 vaccine procurement.

The OCTA group, which has regularly released projections of COVID-19 case numbers, is composed of professors from the University of the Philippines, the University of Santo Tomas, and Providence College in the United States.

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Dr. Maricar Limpin of the Health Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 said it’s actually a “good sign” that people want to learn more about the vaccines first before taking them. 

“Yung 28% probably pwede pa natin ma-convince 'yan (The 28% who say they do not want the vaccine can still be convinced),” she said.

Limpin appealed to the public to participate in the vaccination program since it is also for their own protection against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, public health expert and former government adviser Dr. Tony Leachon said having a large number of people vaccinated is crucial to reach herd immunity or when most of the population is immune from a disease.

“If you would be able to distribute, procure (vaccines), execute the plan well ma-increase yung acceptability rate from 25 to about 70%. That would be the herd immunity for the National Capital Region. And you can reopen the economy and bring back the normalcy,” he siad.

(If you would be able to distribute, procure (vaccines), execute the plan well you can increse the acceptability rate from 35 to about 70%. That would be the herd immunity for the National Capital Region. And you can reopen the economy and bring back the normalcy.)

He expects the perception of people to improve with the appointment of Secretary Carlito Galvez as vaccine czar.

He also said that Filipinos might have different perceptions depending on the vaccine that the country will procure. He said there seems to be different perceptions towards the vaccines produced in the West or the United States and Europe as opposed to those coming from China.

From the same Tugon ng Masa survey of the OCTA Group, majority (81%) of respondents said they approved of the national government’s COVID-19 response.

“This significant approval of the National Government’s Covid-19 response is shared across different socioeconomic classes in Metro Manila (ABC at 70 percent, D at 83 percent and E at 82 percent),” the OCTA Group said in a statement.

The group noted that a minority of 6 percent of Metro Manila respondents were dissatisfied with the government response. Most of them are from the class ABC.

Table from OCTA Research Group

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he “cannot respond” to survey.“I do not know about the methodology, and I do not know about the track record of the entity that conducted the survey,” he told reporters in an online briefing. 

“I have not even seen that survey.” 

Video courtesy of PTV