Good number of Filipinos willing to get vaccinated

Published July 15, 2021, 12:08 AM

by Manila Bulletin

The ramped-up delivery of vaccine supplies to the country and acceleration of vaccination by local government units (LGUs) have brought about a significant increase in the public’s willingness to be vaccinated.

According to Pulse Asia’s June 7-16 survey, 43 percent of respondents said they would like to get jabbed if given an opportunity within the polling period — a big jump from only 15 percent in February.

The naysayers have also declined from 61 percent in February to only 36 percent in June.

In the June polling, 16 of the respondents answered “Cannot say” to the query, “Now that there are vaccines against COVID-19, will you get vaccinated or not?”, while 5.0 percent  said they had been vaccinated.  None of the February 2021 survey respondents had been vaccinated.

These latest findings match the results of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey report dated May 5, 2021 which Dr. Mahar Mangahas discussed subsequently.

The main title of the report was “on government’s scientific competency.”  More than half — or 51 percent — of adult Filipinos said they are “confident” about the government’s evaluation of COVID-19 vaccines; 17 percent said they are “not confident.”  Despite the favorable majority opinion, 32 percent did not express their views.

On the willingness to be vaccinated, Mangahas reported the response as follows: “Willingness for vaccination is 1/3 Yes, 1/3 Unsure, and 1/3 No.”

Mangahas said that the survey respondents represented members of the country’s population above 18 years old, which was estimated at 70.8 Filipinos as of mid-2021. Hence, each of the three groups of willing, unsure and unwilling, would number about 23 million persons.

The second set of survey findings yielded the following conclusion: “Willingness for vaccination is related to confidence in the evaluation of the vaccines.”

Among people “very confident” of the government’s evaluation of vaccines, there was a 58 percent willingness to be jabbed; among those “somewhat confident” of the government’s evaluation, willingness was at 38 percent. The two numbers average to 48 percent.

Mangahas wraps up his analysis by pointing out that the number of fully vaccinated Filipinos was just above 2 million at the time he discussed the survey findings in early July.   This is only a tenth of those who have signified their willingness to be vaccinated, which is about 23 million.  As of July 7, those fully vaccinated had climbed up to 3,089,976, while total vaccinated individuals stood at 12,489,777.

Dr. Mangahas’ observation deserves serious consideration:

“There are already many millions upon millions of Filipinos eager to be vaccinated, including many who doubt the scientific capacity of the government. The task at hand is to supply their need. Only after that is done should we worry about the hesitant and the resistant.”

Government expects vaccine deliveries for July alone to hit 17 million doses, or equal to the total doses received from March 1 to June 30. Adequate supply matched by efficient inoculation would bring the country closer to the goal of attaining herd immunity.