Cabaero: Answer is Delta

What will make vaccine skeptics change their minds? Vaccination advocates have struggled with this question, but now we know that one of the answers is the Delta variant.

The number of people going to vaccination centers to get inoculated against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has been growing since local transmission of the Delta variant was confirmed by health officials.

This fear of getting Covid-19 from the easily transmissible Delta variant has enabled the government to go closer to reaching its daily target of 500,000 jabs. On Thursday, July 22, 2021, the government said it injected a total of 472,356 doses of the vaccines nationwide.

Figures from the Our World in Data at on Saturday, July 31, showed that 28 percent of the world population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and 14.4 percent is fully vaccinated. A total of 4.07 billion doses have been administered globally, and 37.26 million are now administered each day. Only 1.1 percent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.

From the same website, and as of Thursday, July 29, the Philippines had 19,359,927 total doses given and 7,835,715 people fully vaccinated, representing only 7.2 percent of the population, way behind the target of 70 percent vaccinated. Experts have been finding ways to change the minds of deniers who do not believe in vaccines and skeptics who would rather delay their inoculation until the best vaccine becomes available. There are presumably more vaccine skeptics than deniers, and the government has been trying to address their fears through various means.

Health workers have gone around the barangays to speak with residents about the benefits of vaccination. Residents were promised transportation to vaccination centers and even meals for their trouble. Another way to motivate them was to have family members and friends who got vaccinated talk about their experience and that they had no serious side effects. One other persuasive method was to point out that someone they knew died recently of Covid-19. Health workers did all these to try to persuade skeptics to get jabbed but the vaccination rate remained low.

Until two weeks ago when the lines of those seeking to be jabbed started to grow after health officials confirmed the Delta variant was in Cebu and Covid-19 numbers were rising. The Delta variant was not only easily transmissible, it was found to be deadlier than the original virus and its early variants.

Although the vaccine would not prevent getting infected, the symptoms if they got sick would not be severe enough for them to need hospitalization. It’s sad that the unvaccinated had to wait for the Delta variant to happen before they rushed to get inoculated. It will take 14 more days after their second dose for their bodies to build immunity against the virus. Hope it won’t be too late for them.