Confidence in vaccines was affected by controversy over Sanofi’s Dengvaxia. Rolled out in 2016 to over 800,000 children to protect them from dengue – it was banned after its maker said it could worsen the disease in people who had not previously been exposed to the infection.
That led to two congressional enquiries and over 100 criminal cases that linked child deaths to the anti-dengue shot – though such links have never been proved.
Sanofi has repeatedly said Dengvaxia is safe and effective, and the vaccine has been approved for use by the US and EU.
After that episode, the Philippines fell from one of the top 10 countries for confidence in vaccines to no higher than 70th place. The number of children who were fully vaccinated fell from 85% in 2010 to 69% in 2019.
To address the fears, health workers will be given special training on how to answer questions, said General Carlito Galvez, who is running the anti-COVID-19 campaign.