JUST recently online survey results on the COVID-19 Vaccination was released highlighting the motivators for a COVID-19 vaccination. This survey initiated by Radio Veritas used a stratified random sample of 1,200 respondents nationwide for a +/- 3% margin of error (gathered through a text-based and online data gathering process) the released information was indicative of the respondents’ primary consideration when deciding to be vaccinated against COVID-19, inclusive of the dates covering January 4-22, 2021.
When asked,” What is your primary (TOP 1) consideration when deciding on whether or not you would be vaccinated against COVID-19?”, this nationwide survey reveals that among the five factors (note: cost was not included since the respondents were assuming that the vaccination will be given for free), Safety was the top consideration at 67% followed by Efficacy at 17%, Country of Manufacture at 8%, Testimony of Early Users at 6% and finally, Purpose of Use at 2%. Reported side effects on mainstream Media and other online sources coupled with our country’s past “social experiences” on the use of vaccines might have contributed to the results of this survey which places around 7 out of 10 Filipinos to consider the overall Safety of the vaccine before deciding to be vaccinated.
To build Trust and Confidence in our vaccination efforts, the government should provide the public with easily understandable scientifically based information and ensure everyone’s concerns are addressed early and often. Moreover, our government should take a unified leadership role to improve trust around the vaccine which means that issues and controversies surrounding our vaccination plan must be minimized if not eradicated if we desire such implementation to be successful.
Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual (Radio Veritas President) likewise emphasized the importance of bio-ethics in any vaccination plan, for in doing so, public trust in the process is strengthened for greater participation; he stresses that “our vaccination initiatives must prioritize those who are most in need — the inclusion of the excluded and the promotion of the least. Vaccines must not be allocated first to those who are wealthy, powerful, and influential for such would be a great moral and social tragedy. The preferential option for the poor is at the center of the Gospel. ‘He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God’ (cf. Proverbs 14:31).”
As reminded by the CBCP Episcopal Commission for Bio Ethics through Most Rev. Socrates Villegas, DD (Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan) and Most Rev. Ricardo Baccay, DD (Archbishop of Tuguegarao) the goal of a vaccination campaign should be to reduce mortality and to protect the health care infrastructure of our country. This best protects both the individual good of each citizen and the common good of the country. Therefore, vaccines should be allocated to prioritize those members of our communities who are most at risk for infection and for severe disease. As Pope Francis has explained, we must “plan the treatment of viruses by prioritizing those who are most in need.”
First, all medical frontliners who are at high risk for infection because of their vocation as healthcare professionals should receive top priority for vaccinations. We need healthy doctors and nurses to treat our sick so that our people can heal.
Second, adults who are at high risk for severe disease because of their age or underlying medical conditions should be next to receive a vaccine. We especially need to shield our senior citizens who face the highest risk of death from COVID-19.
Third, essential workers whose roles are inherently risky because of necessary interactions with the public and are also important for the common good should be next. This tier would include teachers, grocery story workers, public transportation workers, police, firefighters, and national security personnel, among others.
Finally, the rest of the population would be inoculated, prioritizing those individuals who are living in dense urban areas where they are vulnerable to the virus. Note that these proposed tiers correspond closely with the recommendations of many international organizations including the WHO.
In closing, we commend all who are working tirelessly to end this pandemic, all our medical health professionals, our frontliners, our public health authorities, and our scientists, to our Mother, Our Lady, Health of the Sick and St. Joseph, Patron of the Dying. We ask them to intercede for us before their beloved Son, Our Lord, the Divine Physician, that we may be healed in both body and spirit. To Him, be the glory forever! Amen! (Rev. 11:36)
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