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.
“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.
The survey, however, showed that still 36 percent of Filipinos do not want to get vaccinated while 16 percent are undecided.
Only five percent said that they have been vaccinated against the disease.
The National Capital Region recorded the most respondents who were willing to get vaccinated at 55 percent, while nearly half, or 49 percent, of those who said they refuse to get vaccinated come from the Visayas region.
The survey found that among those who do not want to get vaccinated said they are uncertain of the vaccines’ safety.
It was the same reason cited by most, or 79 percent, of those who are undecided about getting the vaccine.
At least 35 percent of those who refuse to get vaccinated, however, said they would change their mind if they relatives or friends are safe after vaccination.
The Health department, meanwhile, said the country has already administered about 13 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, four months since inoculations started.
Of the total 13,196,282 vaccine doses administered, about 9.6 million first doses were first jabs, while around 3.5 million were second shots.
Authorities have said that those who have received their second shot of a 2-dose regimen vaccine brand are considered fully vaccinated.
About 96 percent of about 1.6 million health workers, the top priority in the country’s immunization drive, have received at least one vaccine dose, said the Health department.
About 31 percent of 8 million target senior citizens, the second priority group, have received at least one COVID-19 shot.
To encourage more elderly people to get vaccinated, authorities are hosting town hall meetings, setting up special lanes for them, and offering house-to-house inoculation, said the health official.
With about 1.4 million coronavirus infections, the second highest in Southeast Asia, the Philippines aims to vaccinate 58 to 70 million of its 109 population against COVID-19.
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 a report from Reuters