MANILA — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Friday that he would try to convince President Rodrigo Duterte to receive his COVID-19 vaccine publicly to boost the public’s confidence on the nation's vaccination program.
This, after Malacañang said this week that the chief executive would be inoculated in private once the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available in the Philippines.
“Alam naman po natin base sa lumabas na survey, marami po tayong kababayan na nag-aalinlangan magpabakuna…. are you willing to convince the President? Baka maganda ng kamapanya para mahikayat ung ating mga kababayan mabakunahan kung nakikita nila yung presidente na mismo nagpabakuna,” Sen. Nancy Binay pointed out during the Senate’s inquiry on the country’s vaccination plan.
(We know that many Filipinos are hesitant to get vaccinated, are you willing to convince the President? Maybe that is a good campaign to convince more Filipinos to get the vaccine.)
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Duque accepted Binay’s challenge.
“Yes, ma’am, we will try our best to convince the president perhaps to publicly allow himself to be vaccinated, but we will respect his decision,” he said.
Vaccination mistrust hounds the government’s COVID-19 inoculation rollout, according to recent surveys.
A poll conducted by Pulse Asia late last year found that nearly half of respondents refused COVID-19 vaccination, citing safety concerns.
Only 25 percent, meanwhile, of Metro Manila residents were willing to be vaccinated against the deadly disease which has already killed 10,000 in the country, according to a study by the OCTA Group in December.
The National Task Force on COVID-19 and the health department earlier told the Senate that they would intensify the government’s information dissemination campaign on the vaccination program.