Officials from the Department of Health (DOH) believe that vaccination fear has considerably reduced in MIMAROPA, including Palawan, primarily due to their intensive information distribution efforts conducted mostly online.
In comparison to previous months this year, DOH MIMAROPA Health Education Promotion Officer (HEPO) Romalyn Racho said the department has observed lengthier queues in vaccination sites throughout the region.
Longer lineups, however, have been linked to insufficient vaccination supply.
“Masasabi natin na mataas na ang mga number ng mga gustong magpabakuna at naniniwala sa ating [efforts]. Sa katunayan, sa ibang lugar ay kumukulang ang [supplies] sa dami ng mga gustong magpabakuna,” she said during an online town hall meeting held Friday, August 20.
Racho added that they attribute the increasing vaccine willingness to their rigorous campaigns, which have been done mostly online due to strict quarantine protocols.
They have also been doing fact-checking on various false claims circulating online by placing factual information next to the false claim.
“Talagang walang tigil ang ating Resbakuna campaign. Napadalas na ang ating mga town hall meeting, mga online events,” Racho added.
Puerto Princesa saw long lines at the City Coliseum beginning last week after the city government announced that those in the A4 category can already receive their first doses. This was due to the increased number of allocated vaccines continuously arriving, as well as the purchased AstraZeneca vials that arrived mid-July.
Some causes of vaccine hesitancy are disinformation, religious beliefs, and fear of side effects. Disinformation mainly comes from conspiracy theories and fake news being peddled online, while fearing side effects comes from a lack of information on the nature of vaccines. Experts have repeatedly assured that side effects are normal and vary from person to person.
The private sector has also joined the campaign to encourage more to get vaccinated. In Puerto Princesa, local establishments have begun offering discounts on their products and services for those who are fully vaccinated.