With the government eyeing to start the vaccination of 29 million Filipinos in the pediatric sector by September or October this year, Senator Win Gatchalian says boosting parents’ confidence in COVID-19 vaccines becomes critical amidst persisting hesitancy among Filipino adults.
Gatchalian took note of a non-commissioned survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) which revealed that only 32 percent of Filipino adults are willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, 35 percent are uncertain and 33 percent are unwilling. The survey had 1,200 respondents.
If vaccine hesitancy persists among adults, especially among parents and guardians, minors might also be dissuaded from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, the lawmaker warned. This in turn would compromise public confidence on the resumption of limited face-to-face classes and the safe reopening of schools.
The Department of Education (DepEd), for its part, says it is set to issue a memorandum on how education frontliners can effectively engage the public and help out in the drive to address vaccine hesitancy among Filipinos. For Gatchalian, the agency can start by reaching out to parents and mobilizing Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA) to emphasize how the COVID-19 vaccines prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death.
“Bagama’t ilang buwan na ang lumipas matapos nating simulan ang pagbabakuna kontra COVID-19, nananatiling hamon pa rin para sa atin na palakasin ang tiwala ng ating mga kababayan. Mahalagang matugunan natin ang pangamba ng mga magulang upang mapabakunahan ang kanilang mga anak at matiyak nating magiging ligtas ang muling pagbubukas ng ating mga paaralan,” said the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said last May that the government needs about P20 billion to inoculate 15 million kids aged 12-17. The finance chief added that P55 billion is needed to give booster shots to 85 million Filipino adults and teenagers for next year.
The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last May that it is set to allow the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for minors aged 12-15. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is already being rolled out in the United States for minors aged 12-15.