COVID-19

Duque: DOH to boost public confidence in COVID-19 vaccine

Bonz Magsambol
Duque: DOH to boost public confidence in COVID-19 vaccine

File photo of Health Secretary Francisco Duque

Photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

'The more transparent we are with the process, the better the confidence level of our people. That’s what we’re doing,' says Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

Secretary Francisco Duque III said that the Department of Heath (DOH) will boost public confidence in the coronavirus vaccine to encourage more Filipinos to get vaccinated and speed up the country’s return to normalcy.

In a press briefing on Friday, December 11, Duque said that the DOH has formed a task force that will “promote vaccine confidence and to explain that this vaccine will be the next best thing that we could possibly have to revert to the normal.”

A recent Social Weather Stations survey showed that only 32% of Filipinos would “definitely” want to be vaccinated against COVID-19, while another 34% would “probably” have themselves immunized. Duque said that the DOH hopes to convince more people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease.

Vaccine fears fanned by the Dengvaxia scare had pulled down immunization rates in the country, even for proven vaccines.

In 2017, Dengvaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur, revealed that those inoculated with the vaccine who had never had dengue were at risk of contracting a more severe form of dengue. Public opinion formed that Dengvaxia killed a number of children who were administered with it, although there are still no proven links between the vaccine and the deaths.

‘Transparency’

Duque said that what’s different now is that there is “transparency” when it comes to vaccine development which was lacking in the case of Dengvaxia.

“The more transparent we are with the process, the better the confidence level of our people. That’s what we’re doing. We’re reporting it daily and the global scientific community is reporting the progress of these vaccines,” he said.

“We never had that for Dengvaxia. The beauty here is the whole world is a witness,” Duque added.

At least 9 potential vaccines are being reviewed for purchase or Phase 3 clinical trials in the country. The country has so far secured a supply of at least 2.6 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, after the government and private firms signed a deal last November 27. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.