Only 19 percent of adult Filipinos, or only one out of five adults in the country, are willing to be inoculated against COVID-19, a recent survey by OCTA Research Team showed.
The OCTA survey also showed that nearly half of adult Filipinos, or 46 percent, said they will not have themselves vaccinated, even if a safe and effective vaccine is available.
OCTA Research conducted the Tugon ng Masa (TNM) survey from Jan. 26 to Feb. 1 through face-to-face interviews with 1,200 respondents aged 18 and above, with a ±3% margin of error.
Among those not willing to be vaccinated, Balance Luzon and Visayas registered the highest percentage at 47 percent each, while Mindanao and National Capital Region recorded 43 percent each.
The study also showed the intent to be vaccinated is lowest in Balance Luzon at 14 percent, while a quarter of those from the NCR and Mindanao, at 25 percent and 26 percent, respectively, are willing to have themselves vaccinated.
In the Visayas, only 20 percent of Filipinos expressed their intent to get vaccinated.
Quick processing OK’d for vaccine imports
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has approved the inclusion of all importations of COVID-19 vaccines in the “Mabuhay” or express lane of the Department of Finance to allow the quick processing of the tax and duty exemptions of these vital shipments.
Dominguez also approved the waiving of filing fees for COVID-19 vaccine applications under the Mabuhay Lane and the use of the Tax Exemption System Online Filing Module in processing the vaccine imports “to further support the government’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination program.
COVID-19 vaccine tax exemption applications in the Mabuhay Lane, which is under the DOF’s Revenue Office, will be processed within 24 working hours.
Over 2,000 new infections logged
The Philippines’ COVID-19 caseload increased to 568,680 on Thursday after the Department of Health reported 2,269 new infections, the third time in the past week that new cases breached 2,000.
Recoveries now total 524,042 after 738 more patients recovered from the respiratory disease, while the death toll climbed to 12,201 with 72 new fatalities.
That left 32,437 active cases undergoing treatment or quarantine, 88.5 percent of which are mild, 0.78 percent of which are moderate, 6.1 percent of which are asymptomatic, 2.3 percent of which are severe, and 2.4 percent of which are in critical condition.
Hazard pay, benefits still unpaid
Some health care workers have yet to receive their hazard pay and other benefits for battling COVID-19 in the frontlines, a group of nurses said Thursday.
The DOH had in December extended the deadline set for health workers applying for COVID-19 hazard pay.
Some medical frontliners only received their benefits on Jan. 29, said Maristela Abenojar, national president of Filipino Nurses United.
Some 16,467 health workers had yet to receive their benefits as of November, Abenojar said, citing data from the DOH during a Senate hearing.
Senators slam nurses for vaccine plan
Senator Imee Marcos on Thursday urged the government not to barter nurses in exchange for COVID-19 vaccines.
“What a useless and demeaning offer! Stop it!” she said of a proposal by the Department of Labor and Employment that would lift travel restrictions for nurses to the United Kingdom and Germany if they would guarantee that the health workers and other overseas Filipino workers in those countries would be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Senator Joel Villanueva also voiced his opposition.
“We simply do not swap people for products,” he said. “But the big question is how did we reach this situation?”
Travel precautions should stay – DOH
A negative COVID-19 test, alongside other health-related requirements
for local travelers, should remain in place, the DOH said..
Dr. Rontgene Solante, of the DOH Vaccine Expert panel, made the response in connection with the Department of Interior and Local Government’s plan to waive such requirements as the country prepares to transition under eased COVID-19 quarantine protocols.
“I don’t think we’re ready to remove these health certificates and the requirements. Because, first, we know our history that there are a lot of COVID-19 cases in the provinces as well as other areas with high COVID-19 cases,” Solante said.
Pasay testing ramps up amid spike
The DOH said on Thursday that testing, tracing and isolation will be ramped up in Pasay City starting this week after the city saw a spike in COVID-19 cases.
In an interview on Super Radyo dzBB, DOH NCR director Corazon Flores said that health authorities met with Pasay officials and the Metro Manila Development Authority to address the city’s case increase.
Flores said 100 additional contact tracers will be deployed to Pasay to aid the local government unit.