Gov't needs more convincing skills to improve public’s COVID-19 vaccine confidence rate

Published June 24, 2021, 4:18 PM

by Chito Chavez

Despite the coronavirus disease- 2019 (COVID-19) improved trust rate, the government may need to further harness its convincing prowess to entice more individuals to be inoculated for the country to achieve herd immunity.

This was evident on Thursday, June 24, after several individuals remained skeptical on the safety of the vaccines with most of them fearing that this may even be the cause of their premature deaths.

Computer shop clerk who simply identified herself as “Motte’’ shook her head earnestly when asked why she opted to pass off being vaccinated even if she has some underlying conditions.

Her reply was direct to the point “ayaw ko pang mamatay ng maaga ( I do not want to die at an early age).’’

After explaining that the COVID-19 vaccine is a protection from severe illness from the virus, the computer shop owner replied she will take her chance and not get vaccinated.

Security guard Paul Ramos, for his part, does not believe that COVID-19 does not exist claiming that a medical practitioner friend whom he did not identify told him so.

“Gawa gawa lang yang COVID na yan. Sa totoo lang may kamaganak ako namatay sa pneumonia tapos ang sinabi sa ospital COVID daw (COVID is just a product of the imagination. I have a relative who succumbed to pneumonia but was said to have died of COVID),’’ Ramos said.

Even if all medicines have side effects and with the existence of COVID-19, a small number of doctors insisted that being vaccinated is too risky stressing that there were not enough tests done to prove its safety which runs contrary to the findings of the Department of Health (DOH).

However, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has relentlessly called on the public that the vaccine, aside from observing minimum health standards, is the only solution to prevent the transmission of the virus guaranteeing its safety.

On June 22, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año urged the local government units (LGUs0 to make the necessary early preparation as more than 40 million Pfizer-Biontech vaccines are scheduled to arrive in the country.

He cited this as a major development in the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP) adding that the LGUs and the local chief executives (LCEs) should begin their preparation to be able to properly receive these vaccines as early as now.

The DILG chief noted that the storage temperature requirements for vaccines such as Pfizer-BionTech which range from minus 80 to minus 60 degrees centigrade citing that maintaining the vaccines in these conditions ensure that they would not spoil and remain ready for use.

“These sensitive vaccines require additional care on our part. I echo Secretary Galvez’s call to LGUs to be ready in handling these vaccines and urge them to ensure the presence of third-party logistics and cold chain service providers,” he added.

For his part, DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya said that the forthcoming deliveries of the 40 million Pfizer-BionTech doses is a “strong signal” to all LGUs and LCE to continue their efforts in vaccine demand generation amongst their constituents.

He expressed confidence that through the united efforts of the national government and all LGUs, the country is on track to indeed “have a better Christmas for all Filipinos.”

The Pfizer-BionTech procurement will be financed through a multilateral agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), wherein payments will be directly paid by the fund manager to Pfizer to guarantee fiscal transparency as the funds will not be handled by any government agency or official during the whole procurement process.