Help stop vax hesitancy, DOH asks medical professionals

Philippine News AgencyAugust 28, 2021

(File photo)

MANILA – All available vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) are effective, the Department of Health (DOH) reiterated on Saturday.

The DOH also reminded medical professionals to be responsible when making statements about Covid-19 jabs to prevent vaccine hesitancy.

“We would like to remind health care professionals to be more mindful of their statements to the public regarding Covid-19 vaccines. Amidst an ongoing pandemic, one irresponsible statement is a fine line between life or death. Covid-19 vaccines offer additional protection against Covid-19. Vaccines save lives. I call on my fellow healthcare professionals to work together to increase vaccine confidence in the country,” Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

The statement came after Dr. Tony Leachon, the former Special Adviser to the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19, questioned during a Senate hearing on Friday if the country is purchasing the right vaccines amid the threat of the Delta variant.

NTF Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr. said Leachon should clarify his remarks as it could influence vaccine confidence in the country.

"Para po sa ating mga kababayan, piliin po natin magpabakuna laban sa Covid-19 upang magkaroon tayo ng proteksyon sa Covid-19 (For the public, let us get vaccinated so that we could at least get protection against Covid-19)," Galvez said in a separate statement.

Galvez said all vaccines procured by the government have the recommendation of the Vaccine Expert Panel.

“While different vaccine types have different efficacy rates against the Delta variant, all of them including Sinovac are working and effective based on real-world data,” he added.

In a Laging Handa briefing on Saturday, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire also emphasized that Sinovac, the most common vaccine in the country, is "100 percent effective against severe infections".

"Nakikita natin din dito sa ating bansa na ang Sinovac is protecting our population (We can see that Sinovac is protecting our population)," she said.

"[K]ailangan po tayong maniwala sa syensa at mayroon po tayong basehan ngayon at nakikita natin na nagiging effective naman ang bakunang ito para sa ating lahat (The public needs to believe in science and we have a basis here to say that Sinovac is effective for everyone)," she added.

The DOH cited data from 23 hospitals in Metro Manila wherein 70 percent of patients admitted were not vaccinated.

Galvez said the conditions of Covid-19 patients currently admitted at the Philippine General Hospital also showed that the unvaccinated ones have higher risks of developing severe symptoms.

He said out of the 280 adult patients, 66 are in critical condition and 55 of them are unvaccinated.

Among the patients, 21 are currently intubated and on life-support systems.

The DOH reiterated that Covid-19 vaccines have led to significant reductions in hospitalizations and deaths among vaccinated individuals.

As of Aug. 26, the Philippines has administered almost 32 million jabs and has fully vaccinated 13.5 million. (PNA)

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