ISN'T it everyone's wish this 2021 for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) to go away so we can resume our lives? So why is there a lot of talk about not trusting the vaccines that are set to be rolled out later this year?

The latest survey from Pulse Asia (if you still believe in this firm) conducted from November 23 to December 2, 2020 showed only 32 percent or three of 10 respondents who are willing to be vaccinated. Visayas had the highest rate of mistrust at 55 percent followed by Mindanao with 48.

And half of the people in the lower class don't want to get vaccinated.

Around 84 percent of these respondents cited safety issues as their concern. Perhaps this is in reaction to the dengvaxia controversy that caused some deaths among children. The Department of Health noted a drop of children availing the vaccination program in recent years. It also did not help how the pro-government social media army fanned this hysteria and now it is fanning back at them.

Another reason is how the government is not answering the questions on two vaccines they are acquiring. Aside from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, the government has negotiated for Sputnik V vaccine from Russian's and CoronaVac from China's Sinovac. These two vaccines have not been subject to peer review, and only have press releases to back their claim of high efficacy.

The importance of peer review in scientific studies is to ensure quality control to prevent scientific misconduct. So if someone sells you a drug, you'll trust it is good when doctors say it is good. That's better than having a salesman convincing you better take this, because you've been buying everything Chinese all your life.

Dr. Gene Nisperos of Community Health and Development points out that the government's tone so far is to make people obey and tell them, wag maging choosy. "Kung ayaw nyo, wag nyo! Dun kayo sa likod ng pila!"

And that is what Dr. Gideon Lasco, medical anthropologist says where the government got it wrong: "You do not increase vaccine confidence by demanding that the public not ask questions. You increase confidence by providing answers to their questions," he said.

Concerns about vaccine safety are true and legit. That is why members of the Philippine medical community are speaking out. They say what is needed is to be transparent, to communicate, explain, and make people understand how vaccines work. Explain that all vaccines do have side effects, but the benefits outweigh the negatives. They admit this coronavirus and the vaccine are new ground, but these values can save lives. To do that is to listen to science, and not to salesmen, and that will help us make a better choice.