Herd immunity: The battle against vaccine hesitancy in the Philippines

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Singapore: At the extremity of each month, residents successful the Philippine municipality of San Luis tune into Facebook Live to ticker the raffling of a cow.

Soon aft the winning ping pong shot is drawn, the district’s mayor, Jayson Sagum, arrives astatine the location of the palmy summons holder and delivers the prize himself.

Jayson Sagum, the politician  of San Luis successful  the Philippines, presents a cattle  to a raffle winner.

Jayson Sagum, the politician of San Luis successful the Philippines, presents a cattle to a raffle winner.Credit:Municipality of San Luis

The scheme, which began successful July and is owed to tally until mid-2022, was devised by Sagum arsenic an effort to trim vaccine hesitancy successful the municipality successful Pampanga province, northbound of Manila, and connected that people it has been a success, according to San Luis’s catastrophe absorption serviceman Ardee Taruc.

“Even if you lone person your archetypal changeable you are already included successful the raffle,” helium said.


“But if you are afloat vaccinated you person 2 entries for the raffle.”

About 15,000 of the town’s 60,000 colonisation person present been afloat vaccinated and person 2 tickets a period to triumph 1 of the cows, which person been donated by section concern figures.

Supply of the vaccine, Taruc said, was present San Luis’s biggest problem.

“Vaccine hesitancy successful our municipality has a debased percent due to the fact that of the raffle,” helium said.

“We are babelike connected the proviso of the provincial government. Of course, the provincial authorities is depending connected the nationalist government.“

The Philippines, which remains successful the grip of the microorganism aft much than 40,000 deaths, is simply a vaccine laggard adjacent successful south-east Asia, which speech from Singapore has been thing but a frontrunner connected the rollout.

With little than a 4th of the colonisation of 110 cardinal afloat vaccinated, gaining entree to capable doses is simply a continuing contented adjacent arsenic infections person halved from past month’s highest of much than 20,000 a day.

But portion determination person been different inducement programs astir the state similar San Luis’s cattle raffles, with bags of atom a communal prize, vaccine hesitancy remains an tremendous hurdle.

President Rodrigo Duterte past period raised the imaginable of making vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory and this week the outgoing populist person had different lightbulb moment.

“I cognize galore radical are inactive hesitant,” Duterte said. “That’s the problem. Those radical bash not privation to get vaccinated.

“Let’s participate their houses and vaccinate them portion asleep.“

Filipinos are astatine slightest much consenting to person the vaccine than they were earlier this year, according to a caller survey by polling radical Pulse Asia.

It recovered the percent of respondents prepared to beryllium immunised against the microorganism had risen from 16 per cent to 43 per cent betwixt February and July.

However, that inactive near 36 per cent of the 2040 participants who said they were not going to person a vaccine, with a further 16 per cent undecided and the remaining participants having already had 1 oregon some shots.

Safety fears and interest astir broadside effects were the superior reasons fixed for reluctance followed by questions astir the effectiveness of vaccines successful the Philippines’ inventory, much than fractional of which are Chinese Sinovac.

But the proliferation of disinformation peculiarly connected societal media, thing the Philippines leads the satellite successful clip spent using, is simply a large obstacle.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte receives his 2nd  dose of Sinopharm successful  July.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte receives his 2nd dose of Sinopharm successful July.Credit:Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division

Philippine Foundation for Vaccines enforcement manager Professor Lulu Bravo is helping pb a solidarity question of aesculapian frontliners trying to tackle fake quality astir vaccines and said hesitancy was mostly among the aged and those successful debased socio-economic groups.

“It’s chiefly the power of Facebook, mendacious news, disinformation and the information that [people] are not reachable by [government] campaigns,” she said.

A arguable world-first dengue vaccine rushed retired to thousands of schoolhouse children successful 2016 besides led to assurance successful vaccines plummeting earlier the pandemic. The programme was halted a twelvemonth aboriginal erstwhile the French shaper revealed the vaccine, Dengvaxia, could perchance summation the hazard of terrible dengue for children who had not antecedently been infected with the mosquito-borne disease.

Three years later, determination are inactive much than a twelve cases earlier the courts implicit deaths allegedly arising from Dengvaxia, though Bravo does not judge the vaccine was responsible.

She and different nationalist wellness experts person tried to transportation the authorities to o.k. its usage again successful the Philippines.

“We consciousness it could lessen the hesitancy should the authorities bring it backmost saying determination was nary evidence, nary proof, that Dengvaxia killed those kids,” she said.

“A batch of radical cannot inactive hide astir Dengvaxia, I tin archer you.”


Dr Anthony Leachon, a erstwhile elder advisor to the Philippines microorganism taskforce, does not blasted that ungraded for the country’s COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, alternatively taking purpose alternatively astatine the government’s absorption of the rollout.

He said delays successful the procurement of millions of Pfizer doses from the United States and the vaccination of Duterte himself with Chinese-made Sinopharm donated earlier it was approved for usage highlighted the government’s failures.

Adding to Manila’s troubles is proposal from a World Health Organisation expert radical this week that a 3rd changeable should beryllium fixed to radical implicit 60 who person been vaccinated with Sinovac oregon Sinopharm.

“I deliberation determination is simply a wide consciousness of the nationalist and the cognition that Sinovac whitethorn not beryllium effective,” Leachon said.

“I’m definite radical are speechmaking close present the efficacy complaint of vaccines, considering each Filipino, I would say, has a comparative oregon a person successful the US.”

Leachon is acold from unsocial successful the aesculapian fraternity successful fingering authorities shortcomings for the Philippines’ woes.

With the Senate successful Manila investigating accusations of corruption successful the awarding of COVID-19 proviso contracts, a radical of much than 300 doctors and salient aesculapian identities released a connection connected Tuesday slamming authorities’ handling of the virus, saying “unmitigated and shameless greed is being flaunted to our faces”.

“The Filipino radical are losing their lives, their livelihood and their hope,” the connection said.

“What much impervious is needed to person america that the respect that they merit from their leaders has been wanting astatine best, and nil astatine worst?“

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