Health experts: Info drive needed to increase vaccine confidence

HEALTH experts cited the need for an information campaign to increase vaccine confidence among Filipinos amid concerns over the efficacy of vaccines.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Bryan Albert Lim emphasized the need for local government units (LGUs) and the National Government to increase vaccine confidence among Filipinos by educating them about the whole vaccination process.

"Our conversation now should already shift to vaccine education. We should now be talking about this," Dr. Lim said during an online conversation program hosted by Assistant Secretary Anthony Gerard ‘Jonji’ Gonzales of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV).

He urged the public not to "demonize" specific vaccine brands since these need to go through the approval process of the country's health authorities before they are commercially released to the market.

Lim explained that the limited global supply of Covid-19 vaccines is a major challenge to the Philippine Government is negotiating with various suppliers.

Dr. Jaime Bernadas, regional director of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) and Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, chief pathologist of DOH-7 echoed Lim's call for educating the public on the importance of vaccines.

To achieve herd immunity, the government targets that 70 percent of the population will be vaccinated, according to Dr. Bernadas.

Loreche then pointed out the importance of educating people and the need to cascade the information about vaccination. They also urged local government units to plan for the vaccination program, including storage and distribution, as it is crucial in the country's vaccination program.

The vaccine developed by Pfizer has to be kept in extreme cold at minus 70 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, the Moderna vaccine needs to be frozen at minus 20 degrees Celsius, more like a regular freezer. The AstraZeneca needs to be kept between two and eight degrees Celsius, around the temperature of a regular refrigerator.

Dr. Bernadas emphasized the important role of health units across the country, including those in the municipal and barangay levels, for the vaccination implementation.

Meanwhile, Bernadas said the government has already started the trainer's training to prepare the country's health system for the vaccination program.

He also called on LGUs that have prepared funds for their vaccine purchase, to work closely with the national government regarding their procurement.

The government may issue an Emergency Authorization Use (EAU) to a vaccine brand to make it readily available for public use./PR


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