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More cops want COVID-19 shots — ELEAZAR

MORE Philippine National Police personnel have expressed their willingness to get the anti-COVID-19 vaccine amid the intensified information drive to convince the public to get the jab when it becomes available, PNP Deputy Chief for Administration and Administrative Support for Joint Task Force COVID-19 commander Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said yesterday.

The official said that they have stepped up their information drive in the PNP using an application exclusive to all PNP personnel called PNP CODA (COVID-19 Data), videos and fact sheets from the Department of Health and other scientists about the benefits of vaccination.

Lt. Gen. Eleazar said that these pieces of information are regularly posted online and distributed to all 17 police regional offices to educate both the uniformed and civilian personnel on how the vaccine works and its benefits amid the continuous threat of infection from the deadly virus.

“Some of our personnel are really hesitant to avail of the COVID-19 vaccine and we attribute it to the deluge of information that they would read or see especially in the social media. But as our health experts always say, vaccination far outweighs the potential risks and claims of danger,” he said.

“So what we do now is to persuade them or convince them to be vaccinated. But we would like to clarify that we are not forcing them, we are just trying to explain everything to them,” he added.

According to Eleazar, PNP chief General Debold M. Sinas has approved their recommendation to conduct a survey in order to determine the perception of all PNP personnel on the government’s vaccination program.

Policemen, especially those assigned to the COVID-19 response frontlines and those whose assignments are related to containing the pandemic, are in the government’s priority list.

Lt. Gen. Eleazar said that during the first conduct of the survey last week, 49 percent of those surveyed had expressed doubts on whether or not they should be vaccinated.

While the respondents are only asked if they want to be vaccinated, Eleazar said those who said no gave an explanation as to why they are refusing the free COVID-19 vaccination offer of the government.

He said most of the respondents who said no stated that they want to have more information about the vaccination while some responded that they need more time to decide.

“That is their honest to goodness perception about the vaccines. And that also serves as the basis of our intervention. So our Health Service came up with DOH vaccination videos for the appreciation of our personnel,” Eleazar said.

As a result of the information drive, the PNP’s no. 2 man said that thousands of policemen changed their mind and signified interest to be vaccinated.

“From 49 percent when we first conducted the survey, the percentage of those who do not want to be vaccinated is now only at 37 percent. Based on our data, this translates to a change of mind of more than 26,000 of our personnel,” the official said.

So far, he said the number of PNP personnel who wanted to be vaccinated continue to increase.

Lt. Gen. Eleazar said they expect more policemen to take the COVID-19 vaccines as the PNP has expanded the information dissemination on the vaccination using other platforms such as direct talks with PNP personnel.