More than 26,000 policemen, who previously said no to Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) vaccines, have changed their mind and now agreed to get inoculated, a ranking police official said on Tuesday, Feb. 16.
This, as the Administrative Support for COVID-19 Task Force (ASCOTF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) has stepped up its information drive to convince all its personnel to avail of the government’s vaccination against the coronavirus infection.
Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, Deputy Chief for Administration and concurrent PNP-ASCOTF commander, said the aggressive information drive is being done through an application exclusive for all the PNP personnel.
Through PNP CODA (COVID-19 Data), Eleazar said videos and fact sheets from the Department of Health and other scientists about the benefits of vaccination are regularly posted to educate both the uniformed and civilian personnel on how the vaccine works and its benefits amid the continuous threat of infection from the deadly virus.
“Some of our personnel are really hesitant to avail of the COVID-19 vaccine and we attribute it to the deluge of information that they would read or see especially in the social media. But as our health experts always say, vaccination far outweighs the potential risks and claims of danger,” said Eleazar.
“So what we do now is to persuade them or convince them to be vaccinated. But we would like to clarify that we are not forcing them, we are just trying to explain everything to them,” he added.
Last week, the PNP Health Service initiated a survey among PNP personnel to identify who among them want to be vaccinated. Policemen, especially those assigned in the COVID-19 response frontlines and those whose assignments are related to contain the pandemic, are in the government’s priority list.
Based on the initial result, almost half of the policemen surveyed did not want to be vaccinated.
While the respondents were only asked if they want to be vaccinated, Eleazar said those who said no gave an explanation as to why they are refusing the free COVID-19 vaccination offer of the government.
He said most of the respondents who said no stated that they want to have more information about the vaccination while some responded that they need more time to decide.
“That is their honest to goodness perception about the vaccines. And that also serves as the basis of our intervention. So our Health Service came up with DOH vaccination videos for the appreciation of our personnel,” said Eleazar.
As a result of the information drive, Eleazar said that thousands of policemen changed their mind and signified interest in being vaccinated.
“From 49 percent when we first conducted the survey, the percentage of those who do not want to be vaccinated is now only at 37 percent. Based on our data, this translates to a change of mind of more than 26,000 of our personnel,” he said.
Eleazar said they expect more policemen to avail of the COVID-19 vaccines as the PNP has expanded the information dissemination on the vaccination using other platforms such as direct talks with PNP personnel.