Press Release
May 20, 2021

Villanueva: DOH should adopt an 'educate before you inoculate' policy

Instead of enforcing a policy of not naming the brand of COVID-19 vaccine to give to the people, Senator Joel Villanueva encouraged the Department of Health to embark on an extensive education drive to inform the populace of the importance of getting vaccinated, no matter the brand.

"Vaccine agnosticism will not work without vaccine advocacy. We have to educate before we inoculate. Sadly, much still needs to be done in this area. There is only one vaccine against fake news and that is truth told in a convincing manner," Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, said.

The DOH announced it will enforce a "brand agnostic policy" and require local governments not to announce the brand of vaccine it will administer at a certain vaccination site. This move was triggered by incidents in Manila and Parañaque where many people trooped to Pfizer-made vaccine inoculations.

"But the bigger problem is not brand rejection among the people, but vaccine hesitancy in general. The biggest are low stock and slow roll out. Thus, informed choice cannot be substituted with a 'take-it-or-leave-it' policy," said Villanueva.

The senator lamented that a lot of people still have misconceptions about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, influencing their and their family's decision not to get vaccinated at all.

A display of unity, Villanueva said, between the country's two highest public officials on the issue of getting vaccinated would also do more to change the hearts and minds of the people.

"Ang isang mungkahi po natin, maglabas ng isang joint public service announcement ang Pangulo at ang Bise Pangulo. This is the kind of ad that will be effective in convincing a large part of our population that vaccines are safe," Villanueva said.

"Ito po ang tambalang nakikita nating mabisa na pangontra sa mga fake news. Both are vaccine recipients, and are living proof that vaccines do no harm."

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