An NRCP medical expert said Tuesday that there is a greater risk of dying from COVID-19 if not vaccinated than getting the feared adverse effects of the COVID-19 vaccine when inoculated, and urged the public to get the vaccine that is offered to them now.
Photo Source: Kaiser Health News
Dr. Leslie Michelle M. Dalmacio, Chair, National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) Division of Medical Sciences, said this due to the results of the NRCP study showing a high number of respondents (269) expressing negative attitudes like distrust, concern about side effects, safety issues, and hesitation towards COVID-19 vaccine. With these negative perceptions, only 25% intends to have themselves vaccinated while the 75% have no intention at all.
Dalmacio said that the vaccine efficacy will protect and prevent risk of severe forms of COVID-19. Regardless of brand, she assures that the vaccines are safe and effective because they passed various clinical trials and also the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She added to have confidence and trust to accept the available vaccines.
Dr. Leslie Michelle M. Dalmacio, Chair, National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) Division of Medical Sciences, urges the public to get vaccinated, during the NRCP 8th Kapakanan ng Tao sa Oras ng Pandemya (KTOP-COVID), on May 11, 2021 via Zoom.
NRCP study reveals what Filipino adults think about COVID-19 vaccine
The webinar, 8th Kapakanan ng Tao sa Oras ng Pandemya (KTOP-COVID), of the Department of Science and Technology-NRCP, featured the project results of Prof. Ernesto R. Gregorio, Jr., NRCP member, Division of Medical Sciences, on Knowledge, Attitudes, Risk Perceptions, and Intention towards COVID-19 Vaccination in the City of Manila (Preliminary Analysis of data from the General Population) with 376 (295 – Female, 81 – Male) respondents.
In his study, Gregorio revealed that the main reasons of the general population for not intending to receive vaccination were due to fear of side effects/suspicious/distrusts of vaccine and does not have enough information about the vaccine.
He also shared that news in mainstream media remains to be the most popular and trusted source of information on COVID-19. It appeared that the overall knowledge on COVID-19 is good, but the perceived level of knowledge on COVID-19 vaccine is low. This is why Prof. Gregorio seeks the help of the media in promoting and hyping the positive effects and reliable information about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Some of the participants with the speakers and NRCP officials during the 8th KTOP-COVID webinar.
NRCP Recommendations to address the negative perceptions towards COVID-19 vaccine
Given the results of the study, the NRCP strongly recommends enhancing health communication campaigns to improve the knowledge and attitude of the general population through the use of interpersonal communication strategies or feedback. Likewise, it seeks to enhance the media advocacy and responsible reporting of the safety and efficacy, benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine.
It was also recommended to design the health communication campaigns that will highlight the following messages: (1) efficacy and safety of approved vaccines; (2) healthy people and those with co-morbidities also need to be vaccinated; and (3) benefits of the vaccination in returning to “normal” in general and family’s health in particular. The role modeling of vaccination by national, local leaders and health workers can help in further improving vaccination campaigns, as well as the positive role of the Catholic Church.
In addition to these, the need to further improve the preference for health workers as a credible source of correct information, as well as the need to capacitate the Barangay Health Workers as COVID-19 frontliners to improve the perception of their roles and trustworthiness.
Prof. Ernesto R. Gregorio, Jr., NRCP member, Division of Medical Sciences, presents the recommendations from his study on Knowledge, Attitudes, Risk Perceptions, and Intention towards COVID-19 Vaccination in the City of Manila (Preliminary Analysis of data from the General Population) during the NRCP 8th KTO-COVID webinar on May 11, 2021.
Gregorio also suggested to have follow-up studies on actual vaccine uptake, assessment of the vaccine role out and effects of health communication campaigns of the Department of Health, and assessment of the readiness of the supply side of the vaccine equation. Finally, for Scientist/researchers to be more prominent in the news and social media platforms and to communicate vaccine-related messages to a wider audience.
The results of the study will be soon accessible to the NRCP Research Journal.
Meanwhile, DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Pena said that the solution for the COVID-19 pandemic is through herd immunity which can be achieved through vaccination. But, due to the negative perceptions towards the vaccine, people are hesitant to get vaccinated.
“People are more inclined to pass negative news instead of positive news”, said Secretary de la Pena.
NRCP Executive Director Dr. Marieta Banez Sumagaysay shared the same sentiments as she shared that the vaccine was a much-awaited solution, but when it comes available, there is yet another concern, ‘Will I get vaccinated?’.
Sec. Boy challenged NRCP to conduct a new research that focuses on computing the probability of dying when vaccinated and when not and probability of being severely infected when vaccinated and when not, and the like.
Prof. Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Pena, DOST Secretary and Dr. Marieta Banez Sumagaysay, NRCP Executive Director share their messages during the NRCP 8th KTO-COVID webinar on May 11, 2021.
Sumagaysay asked the 378 (259 – Female, 119 – Male) participants to take part in helping deter the spread of inaccurate scientific news and design communication collaterals based on science considering behaviors and attitudes. During the open forum moderated by Dr. Romulo De Castro, Director, Center for Informatics, University of San Agustin, also NRCP Regular Member, Medical Sciences Division, the need for science journalism and risk communication were also emphasized.