94% of Filipinos worry about catching COVID-19 but 61% do not want the vaccine

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Almost all Filipino adults worry about catching COVID-19, according to a Pulse Asia survey conducted in late February. However, a majority of them are not willing to get vaccinated over safety concerns. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 26) — Almost all Filipino adults worry about catching COVID-19, according to a Pulse Asia survey conducted in late February. However, a majority of them are not willing to get vaccinated over safety concerns.

Pulse Asia on Friday said it conducted a survey from February 22 to March 3 this year, asking 2,400 adults how they feel about the COVID-19 situation. About 94% of them said they are concerned that either they or their family members may get infected. During this time, the country was still recording less than 3,000 new cases per day and the total was nearing 600,000.

The pollster found that over 90% of interviewees from all areas, except Mindanao which had 89%, were worried about COVID-19. The rest are either not worried or cannot say if they are concerned about the deadly disease or not.

The survey also showed practically every Filipino adult is aware of the vaccines being developed in different countries such as China (100% were aware), the US (99%), Russia (97%), the United Kingdom (96%), and India (93%). However, trust in the vaccines is a different story as 63% said they do not trust vaccines from China. Meanwhile, the leading sentiment for American vaccines was trust at 44%. On the UK-made and Russia-made doses, the sentiment is both undecided with 43% and 40% saying so. As for India, there were same percentages for distrust (45%) and ambivalence on the matter (43%).

The survey results also showed 61% or six in 10 Filipino adults were not inclined to take any available vaccine. The sentiment was shared by majorities in all areas, Pulse Asia said. Only 16% said they are willing to get vaccinated while 23% are undecided.

The primary reason is uncertainty in the vaccines' safety with 84% citing this reason. About 74% of the undecided respondents also gave the same explanation. The remaining interviewees said they are hesitating either because the vaccine might not be effective, it is not needed, it might not be free, or it might be too expensive.

For those who are willing to get vaccinated, the most preferred brand is from US drugmaker Pfizer, chosen by 52% of the interviewees. Only 22% favor the Sinovac vaccine. Pulse Asia noted that when the survey was conducted, the Food and Drug Administration already gave Sinovac emergency use approval.

Other COVID-19 vaccines preferred by at least 1% of those willing to get vaccinated are those made by AstraZeneca (6%), Gamaleya Research Institute (3%), Johnson & Johnson (1%), Sinopharm (1%), and Moderna (1%).

Pulse Asia said the survey was not commissioned and has a ± 2% error margin at the 95% confidence level. Subnational estimates for each of the geographic areas covered in the survey namely, Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) have a ± 4% error margin, also at 95% confidence level.