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Countering vax hesitancy

A recent Social Weather Stations survey reveals eight months into the country’s inoculation efforts, more Filipinos are now willing to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Survey results showed 64 percent of 1,500 adult respondents said they would get the jab. That figure is up by 9 points from the 55 percent mark in June this year and twice as high as the 32 percent in May 2021 when the first SWS survey on the topic was made.

Early into its late-starting vaccination drive, the Philippines had to deal with high rates of vaccine hesitancy as it faced one of Southeast Asia’s worst coronavirus outbreaks. The newest survey results show inroads have been made as far as countering that problem that placed additional stumbling blocks and slowed down the nationwide vaccination effort that many have been counting in the country have been on as the definitive solution to the unprecedented pandemic.

Of the 64 percent, 25 percent said they already had their second dose, 10 percent had their initial shot, 23 percent say they will surely get vaccinated and 6 percent say they probably will.

The uncertain were at 19 percent while 18 percent were still unwilling to vaccinate.

Latest data showed there are now 28.71 million Filipinos fully vaccinated for COVID-19, translating to 37.23 percent of the government goal of inoculating 77.13 million this year. Some 33.75 million or 43.76 percent have received their first dose.

As the vaccine hesitancy barrier starts to lower, government must take advantage by doing more to make it easier for those who want to be jabbed, from those who have already been willing from the outset to those who have just changed their mind. Additional roadblocks and onerous requirements that make the availment of jabs unnecessarily difficult is counterproductive in a country and in communities that need to vaccinate as many of its people as possible in the shortest time.

All eligible Filipinos, whether formerly vaccine hesitant or not, shouldn’t be made to jump through hoops just to get jabs. If the government is serious about hitting its ambitious vaccination target and wants to achieve herd immunity as soon as possible, the jabs have to be available and readily accessible.

Let’s not make our goal of herd immunity as soon as possible more difficult than it already is.*

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