Robredo urges govt to improve communication to address vaccine hesitancy

Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 08 2021 12:29 PM | Updated as of Aug 08 2021 12:57 PM

Residents mostly from barangays under District 4 in Quezon City queue for vaccination at Don Alejandro Roces Sr. High School on August 5, 2021.
Residents mostly from barangays under District 4 in Quezon City queue for vaccination at Don Alejandro Roces Sr. High School on August 5, 2021, a day before Metro Manila is placed under enhanced community quarantine. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo said Sunday government must recalibrate its communication style to address COVID-19 vaccine brand hesitancy issues and discourage panic.

The Vice President is in Bicol to attend to her vaccination projects and observed that there were people who were biased against some vaccine brands.

She said that in Iriga City, a vaccination center closed before 4 p.m. after no one wanted to get inoculated once the Janssen vaccine ran out despite having supplies of a different brand.

“'Yung mga nasa pila, nung nalaman na naubos na yung Janssen pero meron pang ibang bakuna, umayaw na ang iba. Sayang na sayang kami," she said in her weekly radio show.

(Some of those who lined up rejected other vaccine brands when they knew that there was no more supply of Janssen.)

“Kung di lang namimili, mas marami sanang mababakunahan. Pero kailangan nating harapin na merong ganoon (brand hesitancy), paano ba natin kukumbinsihin ang ating mga kababayan na kung ano ang brand na available, magpaturok."

(If people weren't choosing certain vaccine brands, many more would be vaccinated. We need to face that there would be vaccine hesitancy, how would we convince the public to get inoculate with whatever brand is available.)
Robredo said communication should be made clear to prevent crowds that trooped to vaccination sites in Las Piñas, Manila and Antipolo on the eve of the strict lockdown in the capital region, adding that these incidents would have been avoided if the government released a concise and unified statement.

“'Pag iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno ang gumagawa ng announcement at iba't iba ang announcement, lalong nakakadala ng confusion. Example - Bawal nang ihatid ang mga APOR (authorized persons outside of residence) tapos same day, nagsabi na 'di naman bawal,” she said.

(When different government agencies make different announcements, it adds to the confusion. For example, they said APORs cannot be driven to work by non-APORs, then they make a contradictory statement the same day.)

She also called on PhilHealth to settle their accounts with hospitals as the Delta variant threatens to overwhelm health facilities. 

“Sana bayaran na ang utang sa mga ospital para maka-function sila nang maayos,” she said.

(I hope they can pay their debts to hospitals so the latter could function well.)

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