Citizen group launches "Bakuna Iloilo" to raise Covid-19 vaccine awareness

Citizen group launches "Bakuna Iloilo" to raise Covid-19 vaccine awareness


A group of concerned citizens composed of UPV alumni, medical practitioners, and private individuals launched Bakuna Iloilo through a press briefing at the UPV Iloilo City campus on March 8, 2021, to raise awareness about the Covid-19 vaccine.

Aimed at filling the gap regarding the spread of reliable information about the vaccination, Bakuna Iloilo members believe that this initiative is instrumental in educating people and eliminating the fears and anxiety surrounding the community's reluctance to be vaccinated.

They also want to emphasize that the best vaccine is the one that is available. Doctor Eileen Aniceto of the Lung Center of the Philippines said that getting the vaccine protects not only an individual but also their immediate family members. This, in return, also contributes to getting everyone protected.  

Further, Dr. Cynthia Cabangal Ng said that it is important to raise awareness and get the community's commitment. While getting the vaccine is an ultimate act of self-preservation, it is also an act that would benefit the community and the nation. She added that spreading the correct information backed by evidence and science can help us make informed decisions.

The same message has been stressed by Dr. Louie Tirador, Dr. Ronnie Samoro, Dr. Rodney Dofitas, and Ms. Irma Lim during the forum. Tirador explained that viral diseases in the past, such as smallpox, polio, and measles, were prevented because of vaccines.

With over two million Covid-related deaths worldwide, Tirador added that the vaccine is needed more than ever.

Challenging fears and reluctance

Samoro also pointed out that we need proactive measures, rather than reactive, to address the community's fears and reluctance. Bakuna Iloilo would like to focus on efforts that would eventually increase awareness and the level of acceptance of people.

He also noted that what the community needs to understand is that all vaccines available right now are 100% effective in preventing severe symptoms. While mild symptoms can occur, severe cases are avoided.

Over the past week, since Sinovac was rolled out and with the arrival of AstraZeneca, Dr. Dofitas said that the vaccination hesitancy has decreased, and there has been better acceptance. He also mentioned, "Fear is the most important problem. Ang kahadlukan mo, ang vaccine or ang Covid?" (What will you be more afraid of, the vaccine or Covid?)

Shared responsibility must be inculcated

Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Philip Ian Padilla highlighted that this is a shared responsibility that must be inculcated amongst ourselves so that the effects reach out to the larger community.  

As the venue host of the press launch, UPV Chancellor Dr. Clement Camposano also stressed that the university has always welcomed these initiatives. As the fight for misinformation and disinformation becomes even more challenging, Camposano stressed that "This is the time to step forward. This is the time to be heard."

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