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COVID Vaccine Hesitancy Drops Nationwide - OCTA Research

Medically reviewed by Via Roderos, MD, MBA · Internal or General Medicine

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Apr 04, 2022

    COVID Vaccine Hesitancy Drops Nationwide - OCTA Research

    Confidence in vaccines to battle COVID-19 among Filipinos improved prior to the Omicron surge. Independent research monitoring entity OCTA Research Group revealed these results based on a survey they conducted in late 2021. The “Tugon ng Masa” survey showed vaccine hesitancy dropped dramatically from 40% in September to 11% in January 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc globally since its outbreak in March 2020. Medical experts have consistently espoused the benefits of getting vaccinated as protection against the virus.

    Vaccine hesitancy numbers drop

    The 11% is broken down to 5% unwilling to be vaccinated and 6% who “cannot say” if they would get inoculated. The majority of those hesitant to get the vaccine came from Visayas and Mindanao. Nine percent (9%) each preferred not to get their shots. Forty percent (40%) of respondents were wary of getting vaccinated three months earlier.

    Only 3% of respondents in each of Metro Manila and Balance Luzon refused to get COVID-19 vaccines. Ten percent (10%) of respondents from Balance Luzon, 4% from Mindanao, and 3% from Visayas were unsure about getting the vaccine. A small 1% of Metro Manila respondents were hesitant about inoculation.

    The “Tugon ng Masa” survey was done from December 7 to 12 last year. Daily infections at that point had averaged between 300 to 600.

    Omicron spike

    The irony in those results is that the Philippines saw high COVID infections mere weeks after the survey period. The highly infectious Omicron variant was detected throughout Southeast Asia. However, only the Philippines suffered an exponential rise in infections. Partially blamed for the spike was complacency in mask-wearing and social distancing during the Christmas holidays.

    “We are seeing community transmission of the Omicron variant in the capital region,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire recently told a public briefing. The all-time highest number of COVID cases reported happened on January 15. On that date, a staggering 39,004 active cases were reported. Since then, numbers have been gradually decreasing. There were 18,191 new cases and 74 new deaths reported on January 27.

    With more than 3.16 million cases and nearly 53,000 deaths, the Philippines has the highest COVID-19 infections and casualties in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.

    Battling fake news on social media

    Fake news and information online have partially fueled vaccine hesitancy worldwide. Social media struck hard against misinformation on Thursday with the removal of 24 million worth of fake content related to the pandemic and vaccines. Meta, the company overseeing social media sites Facebook and Instagram, made the announcement through its Misinformation Policy lead in the Asia Pacific region.

    Alice Budisatrijo of Meta’s Product Policy team added that 195 million pieces of content for COVID-19 misinformation have been labeled. She credited fact-checkers around the world for this development. Budisatrijo added that they “have connected more than two billion people from 189 countries with reliable health information via the COVID-19 information center and news feed pop-outs.”

    Misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccines have been a huge stumbling block for the Department of Health and the Philippine government. Some medical practitioners have even claimed that the pandemic is nothing but an ordinary disease. Others have insisted that vaccines are dangerous, despite them being certified safe by health experts.

    The actions taken by Meta will hopefully put a bigger dent in misinformation and lower vaccine hesitancy even further.

    Key takeaways

    Vaccine hesitancy in the Philippines lessened prior to the Omicron surge. The results of a survey conducted by OCTA Research Group reflect this. Aversion to getting vaccinated dropped from 40% in September to 11% in December 2021. The recent Omicron surge saw positive cases in the Philippines reach record numbers. Reported cases have been gradually dropping after reaching an all-time high of 39,004 on January 15.

    False information about the pandemic and vaccines on social media are partially to blame for people hesitating. Meta just removed 24 million worth of fake content from Facebook and Instagram. The company teamed up with fact-checkers around the world to clean up misinformation on the pandemic and vaccines.

    For more on Coronavirus, click here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Via Roderos, MD, MBA

    Internal or General Medicine

    Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Apr 04, 2022

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