February 1, 2023

KEEPING PUBLIC FAITH IN SCIENCE

The result of a survey conducted by the Department of Health about the lukewarm receptivity of the public on getting inoculated on the anti-Covid-19 vaccine should be a cause of concern to the agency and experts in the medical field, especially when the cause for refusal stems from unfounded and unconfirmed beliefs.
The national government, through the DOH, is targeting to vaccinate 70 percent of the eligible population but during a pandemic where vaccination is the only available choice so we can go back to our normal lives, DOH should have set the bar higher.
Some of those in the agency said they are not surprised with the turnout and acknowledged that the public needs more information about the benefits of immunization.
We appreciate that the DOH, along with local government units, are addressing the misinformation and disinformation through different media platforms, but we think that the information and education campaign should have started months earlier than the anticipated arrival of the vaccine.
As it is, many are apprehensive about undergoing vaccination out of concerns that might not have been properly explained or misinterpreted by an individual.
We recognize that health and medical terms and procedures are difficult to communicate as these are specialized fields, but this is why preparation should have started early, especially at this time where social media is teeming with information that sometimes require clarification in order to be properly understood.
We also appreciate the fact that even when information is accessible, IEC teams have not disregarded the fact that face-to-face communication is still an integral part of any information campaign such as what is being done in some LGUs where those who will be inoculated first were gathered in small lectures notwithstanding the limitations imposed on the public to prevent infection.
As the public awaits the arrival of the vaccines, it is our hope that offices concerned will be more aggressive in educating the public about the benefits that can be derived from vaccination so that more people will be convinced to avail of it.
We laud the vaccination program of concerned LGUs such as the city government of Baguio for incorpora-ting counselling with an aid of audio-visual presentation detailing the brand and other details of the vaccine to be administered, as it makes the vacinees feel more comfortable and have peace of mind on the vaccination program.
As individuals, let us also do our share by reading information coming from reliable sources only. When in doubt, our health centers, barangay health workers, and even doctors whom we personally know are available to clarify our concerns. It does not hurt, nor will it cost a centavo to ask.
In Baguio, the DOH, along with the City Health Services Office, continues to reach out to barangay health workers, including the district punong barangays and Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson, to further increase the level of public awareness about the vaccine deployment and vaccination program of the city government, which we hope other LGUs in the Cordillera will follow suit while waiting for the deployment of vaccines from the national government.
Every individual can help address this health crisis by equipping ourselves with information based on research not on conspiracy theories.

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