Four out of 10 Pinoys say Russia COVID vaccine safe to use

Four out of 10 Filipinos think that the COVID-19 vaccine from Russia is already safe to use once it gets approved, according to a survey by WR Numero Research.

This handout picture taken on August 6, 2020 and provided by the Russian Direct Investment Fund shows the vaccine against the coronavirus disease, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. (Photo by Handout / Russian Direct Investment Fund / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Using two methods of public opinion research, WR Numero Research sought to identify the opinions of Filipinos regarding Russia’s coronavirus vaccine and the administration’s move to participate in its trials despite suspicion from experts of the vaccine’s safety.

The survey, conducted from Aug. 13 to 15 among 11,561 respondents, also found out that four out of 10 Filipinos are unsure about the Russian COVID-19 vaccine. Half agree to be vaccinated once a COVID-19 vaccine has been approved and is available.

WR Numero Research said that 42 percent are unsure whether they want to be vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine from Russia. More than half disagree about the use of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines due to lack of World Health Organization approval. Five out of 10 think the Russian vaccine is still unsafe to use as it has not yet accomplished Phase 3 of clinical trial research.

Meanwhile, WR Numero Research's Digital Sentiment generated through its unique proprietary digital listening and sentiment analysis tool called Pathos garnered 1,646,655 engagements on Facebook from Aug. 11 to 19 and found out that 23 percent doubt safety and efficacy of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine.

It also found that 14 percent support President Duterte participating in trial of the Russian vaccine; 11 percent want administration supporters and public officials to participate in the trial as well; 11 percent condemn the idea of Filipinos being lab rats; eight percent support Russia and hopeful about the vaccine; seven percent demand Russia to conduct vaccine trial to its own people; and six percent said they trust Russia’s vaccine than China’s.

On the other hand, six percent are alarmed that a similar Dengvaxia controversy will happen; five percent criticize those who complain about the vaccine; three percent said Duterte volunteering for trial is another case of “jet ski promise” to defend the West Philippine Sea; and two percent criticized Duterte and question his unsubstantiated health claims.

The survey utilized a non-probability sampling, specifically convenience sampling of users willing to participate. The data was generated through survey questions on a mobile application that users from their data partner’s online community answer.

Of the respondents, 34 percent are 18 to 25-years-old, 41 percent are 26- to 35-years- old, 20 percent are 36- to 50-years-old, and five percent are 50-years-old and above.

By geographical location, 20 percent are from Northern and Central Luzon; 22 percent are from the National Capital Region; 22 percent are from Southern Luzon and Bicol; 18 percent are from Visayas, and 18 percent are from Mindanao.

WR Numero Research is a technology-driven polling and data analytics company that provides accurate, independent, and actionable data and insights into political and social sentiments, attitude, and public opinion.