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CPAf’s policy center holds webinar on COVID-19 vaccination

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by Marriz M. Mojado

The Center for Strategic Planning and Policy Studies (CSPPS), a research and policy center of CPAf, held a webinar that tackles one of the most pressing issues amidst the pandemic – the COVID-19 vaccine. The webinar entitled, “Is COVID Vaccine Right for You?”, was held on February 23, 2021 via Zoom and livestreamed in Facebook. Dr. Lulu C. Bravo, professor emeritus at the College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila (UPM), served as the resource person.

With the country’s aim to establish “herd immunity” wherein about 70% of the population must be immune to COVID-19, she encouraged everyone to get vaccinated.

Dr. Bravo explained the value of vaccination since 1978 when it was first done to fight with smallpox. Vaccination has been saving millions of lives from severe infectious diseases each year across the world for more than 200 years, according to Dr. Bravo. Today, vaccines are available to protect against 29 diseases with COVID-19 as the latest disease to have a vaccine. 

“Resistance to vaccination [for COVID-19] when there are no contraindications is a disservice to the country,”  she remarked.

Persons who have severe allergic reaction to the previous dose, brain damage, or with severe combined immunodeficiency disorder are not advised to get the vaccine. Likewise, those who are pregnant or are undergoing chemotherapy and taking steroids may delay getting vaccinated. However, Dr. Bravo explained that the ideal vaccine should be safe and highly effective; thus, creating an immune response that not only prevents initial infection but also completely eliminates it (sterilizing immunity).

Dr. Bravo further explained that vaccines go through a long process of clinical trials to provide evidence of their safety. However, she explained that no vaccine is 100% safe nor 100% effective. Individuals who are vaccinated for COVID-19 may experience minor fever, redness, and headache. Others may experience severe allergic reactions to the vaccine, but this occurs at a low frequency from 1 out of 100 to 1 out of 1,000.

Dr. Bravo shared three key messages to the participants: 1) the benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the risks; 2) various types of vaccines are being tested and investigated through scientific methods to ensure its safety and efficacy for public use; and 3) everyone must unite and work together to save lives and our economy. All of these can be done by sharing information from reliable sources to avoid misconceptions. 

The event was attended by more than 300 participants from various sectors – students, instructors, and researchers from the academe; health workers from both private and public health institutions; officials from both local and national government agencies; and the general public.

The CSPSS policy webinar series aims to promote public awareness in food security and sustainability, water and development, social policy and institutions, and local governance.

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