By Ray L. Junia | Published: November 24, 2020
In the latest survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), it was learned that six of 10 Filipinos were willing to receive vaccination now if the COVID-19 vaccine is already available.
The results of the poll conducted from September 17 to 20 that used 1,249 participants nationwide, was especially significant since they showed that 66 percent or majority of adult Filipinos approve the use of vaccine, perhaps if only to stop the pandemic once and for all and restore normalcy.
The same results also showed that more Filipinos in Mindanao were willing to take the vaccine at 73 percent, followed by Visayas with 69 percent, Metro Manila with 64 percent, and Luzon with 61 percent.
The outcomes were significant because they indicated that the people’s trust in vaccines was already restored after the damage caused by the Dengvaxia fiasco in 2018.
In fact, the results were in stark contrast to the 2019 survey when 62 percent of Filipinos disagreed with the use Dengvaxia vaccine to treat dengue, despite the high incidence of the disease in the country.
It was during that time when majority of the citizens also lost trust on the efficacy of other vaccines to treat diseases such as influenza, malaria , polio, diphtheria, measles, and even tetanus.
Since the sensitive issue of our countrymen’s willingness to be treated with COVID-19 vaccines was already settled, the big question now is, does the government have the money to purchase them?
One report indicated that the government will seek the help of international funding institutions like World Bank and Asian Development Banks and also local banks to purchase the vaccines.
In a recent House budget hearing, Dr. Aleli Annie Grace Sudiacal of the Department of Health’s Bureau of International Health Cooperation, disclosed that President Duterte has already approved the use of P2.5 billion under the proposed 2021 General Appropriations Act through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility.
The amount will be used to buy vaccines for an estimated 22 million Filipinos once the drug is made available.
It’s good that the Duterte government is doing everything to source fund this early for the purchase of the vaccines, which many health experts believe will be available by middle of next year at the latest.
With giant pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and Moderna both touting the almost 95 percent efficacy of their vaccines, while other companies were also not far behind, there is great hope and anticipation around the world that this COVID-19 nightmare might soon be over.
In the local front, while we laud the Duterte government for actively finding ways on how to source fund for the vaccines, there were some concerns, however, on how the agencies task with the negotiations will proceed with the same.
Billions of pesos are involved in these deals and we all know that where there is big money involved, unscrupulous businessmen and all kinds of wheelers and dealers would never be far behind.
We just hope that this huge amount of money will be spent efficiently and prudently so that as many people as possible could benefit from these much awaited vaccines.
A lot is at stake at these vaccines and only through a successful nationwide vaccination program could we fully escape from this contagion that has completely changed our way of life.
It is imperative, therefore, that there should be no room for corruption in the purchase of these COVID-19 vaccines