MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has urged the public to help the government spread information about the benefits of getting COVID-19 vaccines, saying the importance of being inoculated, not the pandemic, should go viral.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said while the "beginning of the end of the pandemic" is in sight because of the arrival of the vaccines, a huge part of the immunization program lies in public confidence on the COVID-19 shots.
"Let us help the government encourage other people to have themselves inoculated. They will listen to you," Andanar said in his radio program last Saturday.
"I hope that our message on getting vaccinated will trend and go viral, not the coronavirus," he added.
A recent poll by OCTA Research suggested that only 19% of adult Filipinos are willing to be immunized against COVID-19 while 46% are not, mainly because of safety concerns.
Agencies have launched information campaigns to highlight the importance of vaccines and to debunk false information about the pandemic.
Andanar reminded the public to continue following health protocols while waiting for the vaccines to arrive in their respective areas. Health measures against COVID-19 include frequent hand washing, wearing of face masks and face shields, and physical distancing.
"The best vaccine is the one you have access to. Philippines, those who can be inoculated should have themselves inoculated. For those who cannot get the vaccines for now, maintain the health protocols and pray. This will be our participation. Let us help each other so we can end the sufferings caused by the pandemic," he added.
A total of 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines and 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca shots have been turned over to the Philippines. More than 20 million doses of COVID-19 jabs may be secured in the second quarter, officials have said. The country's COVID-19 vaccination program started this month and prioritized health care workers.
The government aims to vaccinate at least 50 million people by the end of the year.
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