The Manila Times : Bongbong pushes vaccine info drive

18 October 2021

By Bernadette E. Tamayo | The Manila Times

FORMER senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. urged the government to conduct a massive vaccination information drive to assure parents that the vaccines against Covid-19 are safe for children.

The presidential candidate made the appeal on Sunday as the Department of Health prepares to vaccinate more youths aged 12 to 17 against Covid-19.

The vaccination of adolescents is in preparation for the resumption of face-to-face classes.

"The information drive that our government should do must again explain that we really need the vaccine and all the vaccines being given are safe," Marcos said in Filipino.

He noted that the Dengvaxia controversy heightened vaccine hesitancy among parents after many children got ill after they were inoculated with the anti-dengue vaccine.

Marcos believes that an effective information campaign must be done not only to convince the parents but also those who are still reluctant about receiving the vaccine.

He lamented that the vaccination program against other illnesses was affected due to the Dengvaxia scandal because of its adverse effects — some allegedly fatal — on some children.

"Kaya yung mga magulang nag-aalangan (That's why parents are hesitant [to have their children vaccinated against Covid-19])," Marcos said in a statement.

"That is what we must explain [to parents], that the vaccines are good and safe," the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard-bearer continued.

"Lahat ng vaccine ay na-test at milyon na ang nakatanggap niyan (All vaccines have been tested and millions have been inoculated)," he said. "Only a small number [of those inoculated against Covid-19] had side effects, that's why getting vaccinated provides a huge advantage," he said.

The government started vaccinating children aged 12 to 17 with comorbidities on October 15.

Expansion beyond this group will follow once the majority of senior citizens have been jabbed and the vaccine supply stabilizes.

Marcos earlier urged the local government units to bring the vaccines to far-flung areas and to those who have difficulty going to vaccination centers.

He also asked the business sector to give incentives to employers and consumers who were already vaccinated.