DOH: Brand Preference is a factor in vax hesitancy

The Department of Health (DOH) has admitted that brand preference has become a factor that fuels hesitancy among many Filipinos who need to get vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus/

Dr. Anna Lisa Ong-Lim of the DOH Technical Advisory Group, said at a recent Laging Handa briefing, they recognize that some people may have more confidence in a particular Covid-19 vaccine compared to other brands but if the basis of hesitancy is efficacy, she said figures on this are “very fluid.”

“There are different circumstance over which the trials were done. The data is influenced by the location, date, and who received the jab so it’s difficult to compare, therefore, if that is the basis then it’s not a good basis for brand preference because it’s not stable, the numbers are fluid),” she explained.

Ong-Lim said that as the number of people getting vaccinated increases across the world, the database also adjusts.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, however, has repeatedly assured that all the available vaccines in the Philippines underwent stringent regulatory processes to make sure they are all safe and effective.

She added that real-world data also showed that the current vaccines in the country have “good performance” against severe infection and preventing hospitalization and coronavirus-related deaths.

“The public should also understand that we race against time here. The number of vaccines administered must increase so we will be able to reach the end and lower the number of cases who are being hospitalized or dying,” she said.

Earlier, local government units were advised to refrain from announcing the brand of vaccines to be used to overcome “brand preference”.

To address vaccine hesitancy, Vergeire said the DOH will continue to intensify its information drive and town hall meetings to raise awareness on the benefits of getting the vaccination jab.