Ex-DOH Chief urges public to take COVID-19 vaccines

Published February 4, 2021, 5:15 PM

by Analou De Vera 

Former Health Secretary Dr. Esperanza Cabral urged the public to listen to medical experts and “not be discouraged” in taking the COVID-19 vaccine just because of the Dengvaxia vaccine controversy.  

Former Health Secretary Dr. Esperanza Cabral (UP.EDU)

The Department of Health (DOH) previously said that the controversy regarding the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia has “caused hesitancy” in the country’s vaccination program.

Cabral said that the public should trust science. “Wala pa rin tayong sasandigan kung hindi siyensa pa rin (We have nothing to rely on but science),” she explained. 

The former DOH chief said that the Dengvaxia issue was “sensationalized” and had many “false narratives.”

“Talagang masyado lamang na sensationalize ang issue, maraming false narratives na lumabas tungkol sa mga scientists…Nabastos masyado ang mga scientists at nawalan tuloy ng kumpyansa sa kanila ang mga tao (The issue was sensationalized, a lot of false narratives had came out about scientists… Scientists were insulted too much and the people have lost confidence in them),” said Cabral.

“Ang Dengvaxia vaccine, ito ay isa sa mga bakuna na mas mahigit pa ang pag-aaral kesa sa mga COVID vaccines… Pilipinas lamang ang hindi gumagamit ng Dengvaxia. Lahat ng ibang bansa na may dengue virus ay gumagamit ng Dengvaxia at hindi totoo na ito ay nakakamatay (The Dengvaxia vaccine was studied longer compared to COVID vaccines. Only the Philippines does not use Dengvaxia. All other countries with dengue virus use Dengvaxia and it is not true that it causes death),” she said.

Cabral said that medical professionals have the ability to convince people in taking the COVID-19 vaccine.“Our healthcare providers will be playing a major role in the information campaign because they are the ones most trusted by the people when they deliver health information,” she stressed. 

“I think they will believe the healthcare providers more than they will believe politicians or attorneys or things like those,” she added.

Case update

Meanwhile, the DOH recorded 1,590 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, Feb. 4, pushing the nationwide count to 531,699.

The case bulletin also showed that 249 patients recovered, bringing the recoveries to 487,927. Fifty-five fatalities were also recorded, taking the death toll to 10,997.

“Nine duplicates were removed from the total case count, Of these, two were recovered cases,” the DOH said.

“Moreover, 41 cases that were previously tagged as recovered were reclassified as deaths after final validation,” it added.