Philippine Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy drops as safety concerns ebb: Poll

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.
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.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MANILA (REUTERS) - The number of Filipinos willing to get inoculated against the coronavirus rose to 43 per cent in June from just 16 per cent in February, an opinion poll showed on Monday (July 12), 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 per cent of the 110 million population.

"We are glad, as vaccines are really the solution," presidential spokesman 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 the 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 per cent 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.