Vaccine experts battle misinformation from anti-vaxxers

Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 23 2021 07:58 PM

Caloocan City residents booked online receive their dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at the Notre Dame of Greater Manila vaccination site on August 16, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Caloocan City residents booked online receive their dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at the Notre Dame of Greater Manila vaccination site on August 16, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Several of the country’s vaccine experts and medical groups have united to form the Vaccine Solidarity Movement to promote public to trust on COVID-19 vaccines and combat misinformation. 

This, after they received reports that some medical professionals are claiming that COVID-19 vaccines are not safer than getting infected by the virus itself.

"Dapat tayo ay magpabakuna rin. Pero ano po ang nangyayari? Meron po tayong misinformation, disinformation, mga fake news, mga conspiracy theory," said Philippine Foundation for Vaccination executive director Dr. Lulu Bravo.

"Vaccines are safe, effective. Vaccines work," she added.

Doctors also called on the media to be "more responsible" in using information available on social media, and choose the "experts" they interview. 

"These anti-vaxxers are like terrorists, bibigyan mo ba yan ng platform? Kung kayo po ay may opportunity na iligtas ang ating bansa, would you give the terrorist their time in court?" Bravo asked.

"I call on our media, our partners, our friends to be more responsible onward to promoting medical public health journalism that is responsible, help in communications that matters. That includes among others, managing misinformation," said UP College of Public Health dean Dr. Vicente Belizario.

Instead of just asking one expert, Belizario advised the media to interview expert groups.

The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) also warned medical practitioners who speak against the COVID-19 vaccines, asking them to remember their code of ethics.

"Wina-warning po namin sila at meron po tayong Commission on Ethics sa PMA po, kung sila ay nawawala sa ating patakaran sa rules and regulations. Pinaniniwalaan po natin na dapat meron tayong experts like infectious disease consultants at ibang parte na alam ang bakuna," said PMA President Atienza.

Aside from vaccine hesitancy, some people are also “brand hesitant,” but Bravo reiterated that the best vaccines are still the ones that are available.

"Kung mamimili kayo, darating ang panahon na magka-COVID kayo... Either nasa ospital o 6 feet under the ground," Bravo said.

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