Vaccine hesitancy dropping in Philippines amid Covid-19 surge


Health workers screen a member of the public for a Covid-19 RT-PCR test in a medical facility in Marikina City, Metro Manila, the Philippines, on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. - Bloomberg

MANILA, Jan 22 (dpa): Fewer Filipinos are hesitant to get Covid-19 jabs, according to a nationwide survey released on Friday amid a surge in coronavirus infections and a bid to make vaccines more accessible.

The survey conducted on December 12-16 found that only 8 per cent of adult Filipinos were not willing to get vaccinated against Covid-19, down from 18 per cent in September, according to pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Vaccine hesitancy has been dropping since May, when it was at 33 per cent, SWS added.

Presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said the survey was "encouraging."

"The government is making sure that that the supplies are in all regions, and we are taking all steps to ensure that the vaccines are more accessible in all areas of the country," he said.

"It is clear that with more people getting vaccinated and the public seeing they are effective and safe... vaccine hesitancy is decreasing,” Nograles said.

More than 56 million Filipinos or over 51 per cent of the country’s total population had been fully vaccinated as of Thursday, the Department of Health said.

The Philippines has been experiencing a surge in new Covid-19 cases since the Christmas holidays amid the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the virus.

On Friday night (Jan 21), the health department reported 32,744 additional Covid-19 cases, bringing the country’s total caseload since the start of the pandemic to more than 3.35 million. The death toll was up 156 to 53,309, it added. - dpa

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