The disinterest Filipinos show towards vaccines should partly be blamed on the Department of Health’s anemic information drive. While pundits partly trace the resistance to vaccination to the Dengvaxia ruckus that erupted two years ago, the issue has become the consequence of wrong planning and the government bias towards inferior vaccines.
The recent Pulse Asia survey has indicated that over 60 percent of the population strongly oppose getting jabs, a development that can be considered as anti-vaccine protest. This development did not happen overnight and the resistance to jabs emanates from a series of missteps the State has committed which the Palace fickle mouthpiece has unabashedly justified.
Since the March 2020 lockdown, public outrage over the lack of a support system to mitigate the impact of pandemic isolation has become the trigger of this gripe. To assuage the public, the State has even bragged to have done its best in containing the spread of coronavirus.
But as things are shaping up, as if in a choreographed motion, the badge of incompetence the Duterte leadership has shown in facing crises, from the South China Sea issue to the burgeoning number of unresolved anti-drug killings, provides a perfect breeding ground for a political unrest that can derail any pretense at good governance and resoluteness.
Anti-vaccine protest is more manifest in the way the economy is being managed. Even the World Bank has already raised its voice of concern about Philippine growth. Worse, over a year a er the Covid-19 struck, most of the vaccines that have arrived are donations. If that that does not show amateurish negotiation skills, what is?
In a more recent setback, the country’s vaccine manager who is not a medical doctor, announced that instead of three million doses ordered from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute only one hundred thousand shots are coming. With this, expect more delays in deliveries in months to come. Simply said, there is valid reason for Duterte foes to intensify their protest.
Things can turn from bad to worse as the public raise their ante in the protest against the gaffes the State has committed. With the country reeling from a ballooning ₱ 10.4-trillion external debt, bungled vaccine talks, bureaucratic coverups and denials, snowballing antiChinese sentiment, and the teetering economic condition, the day of reckoning is not too far away.
But then again, any form of anti-vaccine protest, whether led by the opposition or the noisy militant groups, can easily be so ened by politicians in an election year. Bring out the packed goodies and cash and, voila, common sense among voters flies away in a snap. What a shame!