Philippine vaccine hesitancy drops as safety concerns ebb, poll shows

July 12, 2021 - 7:39 PM
Corazon Abaya receives her first dose of Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during a house to house vaccination, in Manila, Philippines, May 21, 2021. (Reuters/Lisa Marie David/File Photo/File Photo)

MANILA — The number of Filipinos willing to get inoculated against the coronavirus rose to 43% in June from just 16% in February, an opinion poll showed on Monday, as concerns over the safety of vaccines eased.

The Pulse Asia survey of 2,400 respondents took place from June 7 to 16, more than three months after the Philippines began its vaccination drive on March 1.

So far, nearly 9.7 million people have been given at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 3.5 million have been fully vaccinated, about 3.2 % of the 110 population.

“We are glad as vaccines are really the solution,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a regular news conference, commenting on the poll.

Vaccination is the only way for livelihoods to return, he added.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte last month urged people to get inoculated and even threatened arrest of vaccine decliners or forcible injection of a drug used on pigs, after data indicated reluctance to be vaccinated or difficulties in making appointments.

The Philippines has in recent years had difficulty in combating mistrust in government-issued vaccines over concern about a dengue vaccine.

But according to government data, of the first 6.2 million COVID-19 vaccine recipients, only 0.6% reported an adverse reaction and only 65 infections were reported among recipients of two doses, with no deaths.

With more than 1.47 million infections and over 5,200 deaths, the Philippines has one of the highest coronavirus caseloads in Asia. —Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Martin Petty