MANILA—The Department of Health on Wednesday said town hall meetings have been improving public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines, after survey results showed many Filipinos are still hesitant to be inoculated against the highly infectious respiratory disease.
The Philippine government earlier launched its own education campaign on the planned immunization program in different parts of the country, as the government begins to roll out COVID-19 vaccines later this month.
“Pag-umpisa ho ng town hall, makikita natin na talagang mababa, it’s about 50 to 60 percent lang ang magpapabakuna. The rest are unsure or do not really like to be vaccinated. Pero every time na matapos ang town hall, we’ll have another poll survey using the same questions, at nakikita ho natin ang pagtaas or pag-increase ng bilang ng mga tao na gusto na magpabakuna pagkatapos nitong mga town hall meetings na ito," said Health Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a public briefing.
(At the start of the town hall, we see the public confidence in vaccines is really low, just about 50 to 60 percent are willing to get vaccinated. The rest are unsure or do not really like to be vaccinated. But every time the town hall finishes, we have another poll survey using the same questions, and we see the increase of number of people willing to be inoculated after these town hall meetings.)
She said this proved that information campaigns should be intensified in the coming weeks to address vaccine hesitancy.
“Iyon lang po ang gagawin natin. Tuluy-tuloy po na pagbibigay ng impormasyon . . . Para ma-oppose po natin ang hesitancy ng mga tao. We can convince them that vaccines saves lives at ito po iyong magbibigay ng proteksiyon sa atin para dito po sa kinakaharap na pandemya na mayroon tayo,” she said.
(That's what we'll do. Information dissemination will be continuous so we can oppose the hesitancy of the people. We can convince them that vaccines saves lives and this will give us protection against this pandemic.)
An online survey conducted by University of Santo Tomas professors and students earlier showed that only 55.9 percent of their 15,651 respondents agreed to be vaccinated.
Another survey by Radio Veritas revealed Filipinos primarily considered the safety of a COVID-19 vaccine when deciding whether to be inoculated.
Vergeire dispelled the public’s fear on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, pledging all of the jabs that would be distributed to Filipinos would undergo strict screening.