An official from the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested that pollsters should repeat their survey on Filipinos’ willingness to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to WHO Country Representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the Pulse Asia survey which showed that only 32% of Pinoys are confident in getting a COVID-19 vaccine, was conducted during a time where no vaccine brands have been given emergency use authorization.
Pulse Asia conducted the poll from November 23 to December 2 last year when the United Kingdom became the first country to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
“That question was asked in a space where nobody knew about the possibility of COVID-19 vaccines becoming available so soon and about their safety and use in other countries. So we need to really ask this question again,” Abeyasinghe said at a Laging Handa briefing.
The Pulse Asia survey showed that 84% of those who said they would get a COVID-19 vaccine cited safety concerns.
Repeat survey on Filipinos’ willingness to get COVID-19 vaccine – WHO official
“We know that there is vaccine hesitancy in the Philippines. We need to be clear and transparent with the Filipino public that these vaccines…are still under the emergency use listing,” Abeyasinghe said.
“That is why it is necessary for countries to have in place systems to monitor for potential side effects and remove those, and that is why we have an emergency use listing and that is why the vaccines are being used/advocated for use in places where we need to rapidly bring under control the pandemic.”
The government earlier announced it is targeting to vaccinate up to 70 million individuals this year, with inoculation slated to begin in February.
However, Abeyasinghe said would take time.
“There’s going to be many types of vaccines that will need to be accommodated. There’s going to be different conditions necessary for the administration and storage of those vaccines,” he said.
“It is critically important that the DOH and the LGUs put in place mechanisms to already initiate those early actions so that further transmission can be reduced, suppress through early quarantining, early isolation, early testing, sharing of information not only relevant surveillance units but also with the community at large,” Abeyasinghe said.