Info drive needed as locals get confused, scared of COVID vaccines

Published January 17, 2021, 6:26 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Calls for a mass information drive on the different COVID-19 vaccines is beginning to snowball in the House of Representatives.

(Photo by Natalia KOLESNIKOVA / AFP / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The latest solon to make such an appeal was San Jose Del Monte City Rep. Florida Robes, who noted Sunday, Jan. 17, that there is “too much information” on the vaccines, to the point that Filipinos are getting confused and anxious about it.

“The government, particularly the [Inter- Agency Task Force on the Management], should go on a massive information drive to give the real score on the vaccines and the vaccination program that soon will be rolled out when we have the vaccines,” she said.

Robes, House Committee on People’s Participation chair, has been spearheading dialogues between international pharmaceutical companies and local health officials in order to facilitate the approval of COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines.

She said that based on her numerous talks with her constituents, many have expressed their apprehension on receiving the anti-COVID jabs because of questions on safety and efficacy.

“Initially they wanted to get the vaccine but with the many information that they get from social media, [most of which] are not true, they are now having second thoughts. We should allay their fears through a massive information drive that will go all the way to the grassroots,” she said.

Robes expressed confidence that the Duterte administration will choose a vaccine that is proven safe and effective.

“I know that they have the best interest of the Filipino people at heart. It’s just that there is just a lot of disinformation,” she said.

Deputy Speaker and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales II earlier asked the Department of Health (DoH) to seize the opportunity and launch a COVID vaccine educational campaign while the country waits for its supply of the antigen.

“All the billions of pesos appropriated by the government will simply go to waste if a substantial number of the people targeted by the vaccination program of the government will just refuse to be vaccinated, out of fear borne [from a] lack of information and understanding of the advantages of having it,” he said.

Like Robes, Gonzales had also learned that a lot of his constituents were against having themselves vaccinated due to safety concerns and basic lack of knowledge.

“A massive information drive should really be fast-tracked on the ground level, so that the government’s national vaccination program will fully be successful,” he stressed.

 
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