POPCOM: Population decline due to COVID-19, not vaccines

Published January 22, 2022, 1:46 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) has debunked claims that COVID-19 vaccines caused “depopulation” in the country, which has been circulating in social media and triggered hesitancy among the public.


POPCOM Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III said the rise in mortality and drop in birth rates in the country were mainly caused by COVID-19 itself and its impact on the local health system, not due to vaccines.

“Deaths and births, directly or indirectly, are attributable to the impact of the coronavirus on the health system and economy; but definitely, not due to vaccinations,” Perez said.

According to POPCOM, more than one in 10 deaths in the country are directly attributable to COVID-19 which has resulted in 105,425 fatalities between April 2020 and October 2021.

Data also showed that the loss of lives from COVID-19 now comprise 11.04 percent of all deaths in the country in the same period — making it the second-leading cause of registered deaths since the virus started to spread in March 2020.

“The increase in deaths compared to previous years has been noted since July 2020. Comparing the first six months of 2021 to the same period of 2020, there was an increase of 88,191 deaths,” Perez noted.

“One can attribute over half of that, or 51%, to COVID-19, and the rest to ischemic heart disease, hypertensive disease and other illnesses—the cases which also went up in that time frame,” he explained.

On the lower population increase, POPCOM earlier noted that this is due to the recent decline in births due to three factors: women and couples opting to delay having children; lower number of marriages and family formation in general; and increasing use of modern family planning methods.

“The decline in childbirths started in December 2020, when they went down to 115,997, then declined further in succeeding months in 2021, with the lowest births seen in February 2021 at 82,535. This was also noted well before the March 2021 rollout of vaccinations for COVID-19,” it said.

However, the POPCOM chief emphasized that these demographic events during the pandemic are variations in the normal demographic patterns worldwide due to COVID-19’s direct impact on mortality and on fertility behaviors of couples.

Perez also called these claims as “completely without basis” and that the “depopulation” was not due to vaccinations since the upward movement was noted until nine months before inoculations started in March 2021, and that the decline in births was already present four months prior.

The Population and Development undersecretary further argued that vaccines have been created to protect the public from severe symptoms of COVID-19 and not the other way around.

“Vaccines are products of scientific and medical endeavors primarily designed to protect and uphold life, and not cause it harm. Creating them for a purpose other than the good of mankind, as alleged, would be unthinkable and utterly inhumane,” he said.

The agency also noted that local governments in charge of health systems should maintain two tracks of health care to maintain population health: one for COVID-19 and influenza like-illnesses, and another for overall health.

“At this time when COVID-19 is casting a wide net in our communities, mayors and governors must address the problems of the ‘unwell’ among the population, both due to COVID-19 and its related diseases,” Perez added.