Less than a fifth of adult Filipinos willing to get COVID-19 jabs â OCTA
Health workers participate in a simulation for COVID-19 vaccination in The Medical City in Pasig City on February 18, 2021.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

Less than a fifth of adult Filipinos willing to get COVID-19 jabs — OCTA

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - February 25, 2021 - 10:50am

MANILA, Philippines — Only 19% of adult Filipinos in a survey by OCTA Research said they are inclined to get COVID-19 vaccines while nearly half are not willing to get inoculated even if a safe and effective vaccine becomes available.

The Tugon ng Masa survey of 1,200 respondents found that 46% will opt out as the country awaits the arrival of the critical goods. Thirty-five percent or, roughly a third, are undecided if they will get immunized.

Intent to get vaccinated was lowest among those in Balance Luzon (14%). A quarter of Filipinos in Metro Manila (25%) and Mindanao (26%) and a fifth in Visayas (20%) said they will have themselves vaccinated.

Inclination to get vaccinated among Class D (18%) is slightly lower than those of Class ABC and Class E, both at 23%.

A survey released by Pulse Asia in January had the same result: 47% are unwilling to be vaccinated.

The government faces the difficult task of conducting a COVID-19 vaccination campaign as it re-establishes trust in immunization two years after the Dengvaxia controversy. This was highly policitized despite the lack of conclusive evidence that the vaccine developed by French firm Sanofi Pasteur caused the deaths of children inoculated with it during the previous administration.

Concerns about safety, efficacy

Those who do not want to get COVID-19 jabs once available were particularly concerned about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

Seventy three percent cited concern about the safety of vaccines as their top reason for their decision not to get inoculated. Concern about vaccine safety was highest in Mindanao (78%), followed by Balance Luzon (76%), Metro Manila (69%) and Visayas (64%).

Twenty-nine percent of the respondents also said they will not get vaccinated because they are not sure if vaccines are effective. Concern about vaccine effectiveness was highest in Visayas (46%), followed by Metro Manila (34%), Mindanao (27%) and Balance Luzon (21%).

So far, three vaccines have received emergency use authorization from the country’s Food and Drug Administration—those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Sinovac. They were granted approvals after thorough and rigorous reviews of the agency’s regulatory and medical experts.

Vaccines from US top choice of Filipinos

The survey also found that vaccines developed by American drugmakers are the preferred choice of Filipinos at 41%, followed by those coming from the United Kingdom (25%) and India (17%).

The country is set to receive 117,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines developed by US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer with reported efficacy rate of 70% through the COVAX facility. The shipment will benefit healthcare workers.

Officials have yet to strike a deal with Moderna, another American firm, whose COVID-19 jab is found to be 94.1% effective.

Meanwhile, only 13% of the respondents trust China-made vaccines.

Initial doses of the Sinovac Biotech vaccine could be delivered “this week or next week,” its official said. Sinovac reported widely different efficacy rates from its clinical trials.

The government is facing criticisms over the delayed vaccine rollout. Officials initially announced that the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines will be on February 15, a date that has since been pushed back.

The Philippines, which has Southeast Asia’s second worst COVID-19 outbreak, is aiming to inoculate up to 70% of its population this year alone.

The survey was conducted from January 26 to February 1 and utilized a sampling design that allowed for a 95% confidence level with a ±3% margin of error.

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