DOH says challenging to convince Pinoys to trust all COVID-19 vaccine brands

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 26 2021 05:38 PM

DOH says challenging to convince Pinoys to trust all COVID-19 vaccine brands 1
Health workers administer COVID-19 vaccine to senior citizens during an inoculation program at the San Juan Arena on March 30, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said the national government is still facing challenges on convincing the public to trust all COVID-19 vaccine brands being offered in inoculation sites nationwide.

A recent SWS survey earlier showed Filipinos from Visayas and Mindanao prefer to be inoculated with Chinese brand Sinovac, while those from Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon want Pfizer jabs.

"This is really a challenge in terms of education and communication
kasi ang natural tendency naman ng tao na mas prefer nila 'yung mga brands na naririnig nila," said Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, a member of the DOH technical advisory group.

(This is really a challenge in terms of education and communication because the natural tendency of people is to prefer brands they have heard of.)

"The challenge for us is to communicate the information so that people have a good basis for them to take these vaccines at magkaroon din sila ng confidence na ang mga bakunang ito ay dumaan sa masusi na pagbusisi ng mga expert groups," she said.

(The challenge for us is to communicate the information so that people have a good basis for them to take these vaccines and have confidence that these jabs were thoroughly scrutinized by expert groups.)

The Philippines has been using UK's AstraZeneca, American brand Pfizer, China's Sinovac, and Russia's Sputnik V in its inoculation program against COVID-19.

Earlier this month, hundreds of Filipinos trooped to a hospital in Manila where Pfizer shots were being offered, while another vaccination site using Sinovac jabs had low turnout.

The public should focus on real-world data on the performance of COVID-19 jabs, said Vaccine Expert Panel Head Dr. Nina Gloriani.

"Siguro mas dapat makita natin 'yung real-world performance nila," she said.

(Maybe it is better to look at the real-world performance of these vaccines.)

"Lahat ng vaccines na na-evaluate namin, mild to moderate ang kanilang side effects," she said.

(All the vaccines that we have evaluated caused mild to moderate side effects.)

The Philippines has yet to record deaths related to COVID-19 vaccines, said Dr. Lulu Bravo, chairperson of the National Adverse Events Following Immunization Committee (NAEFIC).

"'Yung namatay, wala pa po kaming nakikitang malinaw na ebidensya na 'yan ay maire-relate natin sa bakuna," she said.

(Among those who died, we have not found clear evidence that can be related to the vaccine.)

"'Yung bakuna ay hindi makaka-prevent ng mga dati ninyong sakit
at hindi din 'yan makakapagparami ng mga dati ninyong sakit," she said.

(The vaccine cannot prevent your existing illnesses nor can it worsen it.)

The DOH earlier ordered local governments to stop disclosing vaccine brands available in inoculation sites to avoid crowding.

So far, the Philippines has administered 4.3 million doses since it began its COVID-19 vaccination program in March, according to data from the DOH.

The national government hopes to vaccinate at least 58 million people this year to attain herd immunity against the disease that has infected 1.1 million in the country.

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