Grievances against the lack of COVID-19 vaccine supply were raised after President Rodrigo Duterte shrugged off those who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 with warnings of worst possibilities.
In his June 14 “Talk to the People,” the chief executive addressed those who are hesitant to be inoculated against the virus amid the continuous rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.
“Pero kayong itong—in face of the reality of death and the number ng namamatay, ayaw pa ninyong magpabakuna, eh wala na akong… Ginawa na namin ang lahat. Sabi nga ‘pag nabili ‘yong lahat ng bakuna, sobra kasi maraming tumatanggi. Hay nako,” Duterte said in his national address.
“Now ulitin ko ulit: ‘Pag hindi ka nagbakuna, mamamatay ka talaga. So planuhin mo na ‘yong buhay mo kung paano pagdating ng panahon. Magbili ka ng kabaong o magpasunog ka. Magkano ang bayaran mo at maghanap ka na ng puwesto sa sementeryo. Ganyan ‘yan eh. Ayaw ninyong magpabakuna? Patay kayo sigurado,” he added.
“Pero sa ngayon, sabihin ko na lang sa inyo, ‘yong hindi magpabakuna o takot magpabakuna, ba-bye na lang sa inyo. Eh ayaw ng… Iyan na lang, ‘yan ang dapat sa inyo, ba-bye,” the president further said.
Possible factors why some remain unvaccinated
Duterte’s remarks alarmed some Filipinos on social media who raised other factors that they believed contribute to vaccine hesitancy.
“E paano papabakuna kung kulang naman ang supply! Saka sana ‘yung brand na gusto ng tao ang bilhin!” a Twitter user said in response to Duterte’s comments.
A recent survey suggested that more than half of Filipino respondents prefer COVID-19 vaccines from the United States of America with high efficacy, namely Pfizer and Moderna.
Based on vaccine tracker reports, Philippines has the most number of COVID-19 vaccines from Sinovac, a Chinese biopharmaceutical firm, as of June 12.
More than six million of its doses are procured by the government while one million of them were donated.
Sinovac was the second vaccine from China that was green-lit by the World Health Organization.
Clinical trial results show that it prevents symptomatic COVID-19 in 51% of those COVIS-19 vaccinated. It also prevents severe COVID-19 and hospitalization in 100% of the studied population.
Other Twitter users responded to Duterte’s remarks by claiming that there are more people who would like to get vaccinated against COVID-19 yet the slow rollout of jabs remains a hindrance.
“Mabagal din po ang schedule kahit willing pa magpa-vaccine, wala din po magawa kundi mag-antay na lang po,” a Filipino commented.
“Hindi sa ayaw namin magpabakuna.. ang problema up until now, wala pa din kami nare-receive na schedule,” shared another Twitter user.
Some commented that there is a need to boost the supply of COVID-19 vaccines available to the public.
“Makapagsalita akala mo naman sobra sobra vaccine supply natin, madami pa ngang walang schedule for vaccination eh. Naka-focus ka dun sa ayaw magpa-vaccine, eh paano ‘yung gusto pero wala pang available supply??” a Twitter user wrote.
Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr reported that there are more than four million doses delivered to the country this month. These are comprised of Sinovac, Sputnik V and Pfizer.
The government aims to vaccinate 58 million people by the end of the year.
Reports said that more than one million are already fully vaccinated as of June 14. This comprises 3.24% of the target population.
The government has yet to inoculate the general population. Those who have received COVID-19 vaccines include healthcare workers, the elderly and those with comorbidities and some economic frontliners.
Other localities reported that it will also start vaccinating its indigent population.
Some Twitter users lamented that Duterte’s remarks to those who are hesitant to get their COVID-19 shots might get discouraged.
“Imagine, health workers and even us student nurses are doing our best to tell people how important it is to get vaccinated tapos ushsuahauhsiaja?” a Twitter user commented.
“Instead of continuously convincing people and finding other ways to get them vaccinated, ito ang sasabihin,” wrote a different Filipino with a clown emoji.
Effective way to defeat pandemic
Early this month, Duterte appeared in a nearly two-minute infomercial where he urges the public to receive their COVID-19 jabs, stressing that it is the key to curb the ongoing outbreak.
“I invite all our kababayans to be vaccinated at the earliest possible opportunity because this is the most, if not the only way, effective way to defeat COVID-19 pandemic,” he was quoted as saying in the video.
“Let us all keep in mind that the vaccine will not only protect you from the virus, it will also protect your loved ones, especially the sick and elderly,” Duterte added.
He also said that people’s participation in the COVID-19 vaccination drive is crucial in reopening the economy and reclaiming “our normal lives.”
“To the Filipino people, let me assure you that the government will continue to do its best to protect you until we overcome this health crisis together. Let us heal as one nation. Kapwa Pilipino, magpabakuna na po tayo,” the president added.