Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima chided the Duterte government for refusing to address vaccine hesitancy among Filipinos, saying it requires serious attention.
De Lima lamented that the Duterte administration’s strategy in fighting COVID-19 focuses on blaming so-called “pasaways” instead of pushing for a campaign that would help build public trust on vaccines.
“Children are getting sick with the Delta variant and the presidential mouthpiece is still spewing poison from his perch in Malacañang. Bahala na daw ang COVID-19 sa mga ayaw magpabakuna,” she said.
“The government is blatantly refusing to address vaccine hesitancy. Anti-‘pasaway’ kasi ang alam lang nila na response, hindi anti-COVID,” she added.
When asked during a recent press briefing if the government has a program to deal with people refusing vaccination, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that they would just leave them at the mercy of the virus.
“Siguro ang programa diyan eh bahala na si COVID 19 sa kanila kung ayaw nila magpabakuna,” Roque stated.
“Kung ipasa ni Roque at Duterte ang sisi sa mamamayan, akala mo napakaayos ng programa ng gobyerno para sa bakuna at ayuda. Eh sa mahigit isang taon ng pandemya, ang gusto nilang ipantapat sa virus at gutom ay dahas at bala,” said De Lima.
A non-commissioned Social Weather Stations survey conducted from April 28 to May 2 found that only 32% of adult Filipinos are willing to get vaccinated if they had a “chance to be given a free vaccine that can prevent COVID-19 which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.”
The lady Senator from Bicol reminded Roque that it is high time for the government to exert effort to rebuild people’s trust on vaccines after creating public fear on the country’s vaccination program.
“Sec. Roque, marami talaga ang naging pasaway sa bakuna mula noong pinakawalan ninyo si Persida Acosta at isang senador para magkalat ng fake science tungkol sa Dengvaxia,” she said.
“Baka naman panahon na para kumbinsihin ninyo uli ang taumbayan na epektibo ang mga bakuna, pagkatapos ninyo silang takutin sa inimbento ninyong panganib ng Dengvaxia para lang siraan ang Aquino Administration,” she added.
In 2019, De Lima scored Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta for grandstanding on the Dengvaxia issue which scared off parents from availing free vaccines to protect their children from life-threatening diseases. (30)