Fear of side effects top reason for PH vaccine hesitancy: DOH

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 31 2021 03:57 PM | Updated as of May 31 2021 04:35 PM

Fear of side effects top reason for PH vaccine hesitancy: DOH 1
Health workers administer COVID-19 vaccines to senior citizens during an inoculation program at the San Juan Arena on March 30, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Possible side effects of COVID-19 vaccines remains the top reason why some Filipinos are still hesitant to be inoculated against the disease, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

In a DOH survey involving 43,000 participants, respondents cited possible side effects of the vaccine, negative information on social media, and doubts on its efficacy as their top 3 reasons for hesitating to be jabbed against COVID-19, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press conference.

"Doon natin tinutuon ng pansin ang ating information dissemination," she said.

(That is where we are focusing our information dissemination.)

"Mas madalas natin pinapalabas ang ating mga eksperto para ipaliwanag ang safety at efficacy ng mga bakuna at ipaliwanag ang mga adverse events," she said.

(We are fielding our experts more frequently so that they can explain the safety and efficacy of vaccines and explain what adverse events are.)

The DOH has yet to respond to queries on when the survey was held and which areas were covered by the study.

The Philippines has yet to record any serious post-vaccination adverse event such as death, she said.

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The DOH also held at least 75 townhall meetings to further encourage to the public that COVID-19 vaccines are generally safe, Vergeire said.

"Bumababa tayo sa baba para makapag touch base tayo sa mga sektor but we cannot really communicate our way out," she said.

"Mayroon din tayong kailangang tingnan sa parte ng supply side. Paano pa natin mai-improve ang access ng mga tao sa mga bakuna natin opara dumami pa ang magpapabakuna?" she said.

So far, the Philippines has been inoculating around 150,000 people a day, the Undersecretary said.

"We have increased 25 times more than what we were doing when we started vaccinating," she said.

The Philippines needs to vaccinate about 500,000 people a day to achieve herd immunity by the end of the year, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said in March.

As of May 30, the Philippines has administered 5.12 million doses of the 8.32 jabs that arrived in the country since it began its inoculation program against COVID-19 in March.

Some 1.18 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 3.9 million others have received their first dose.