Local leaders crucial in resolving vax hesitancy in Muslim areas

Presidential spokesman and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, said Wednesday the leadership influence of local leaders to convince their constituents are important in addressing vaccine hesitancy in Muslim communities in Mindanao.

In an interview over CNN Philippines, Nograles reiterated President Duterte’s concerns on the vaccine hesitancy among Muslim communities in Mindanao which, the President believes is “something has to with religious belief.”

Nograles stressed that it really matters when local leaders would maximize their “convincing power” to increase the confidence of the public in the Covid-19 vaccination program. “They’ll have to really set an example to their constituents, they really have to push for increased vaccination in the BARMM area,” he added.

Nograles said it is also critically important to convey the message Covid-19 vaccines are halal-certified and widely used in other predominantly Muslim countries.

He said there are no serious vaccination hesitancy problems in countries like neighboring Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and other predominantly Muslim counties. “We see no reason why it could not happen in the BARMM areas but it really takes a lot of push and drives from local leaders there,” he said.

National Task Force against Covid-19 data showed that among the 17 regions nationwide, the BARMM has the least number of vaccinated individuals, with only 25.22% or 769,604 persons out of its 3,051,196 total targeted population, fully vaccinated and 47,081 received booster shots.