Most Filipinos are hopeful for new medicines and vaccines against the pandemic to arrive within a year with two-thirds willing to be vaccinated, while a small percentage of them are stranded by community quarantines, results of the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) surveys show.
SWS president Dr. Mahar Mangahas presented the results of the mobile phone surveys the research firm conducted in May, July and September last year. The SWS resumed face-to-face surveying in November.
During the 2021 SWS survey review webinar, Mangahas said the September survey indicates that two-thirds or 66 percent are willing to get the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine, while only 31 percent would not get the vaccine.
He said the SWS, however, did not ask the question about the respondent’s willingness to be vaccinated for Covid-19 in its November survey.
“But I think this is one of the cases where it is very important to get the data right and we are sticking to our figure that two out of three are willing to get the vaccine. I myself would be willing to say that there will be pila (queue) if a vaccine comes out, there is not going to be a shortage of people rushing to get the vaccine and this feeling that people are worried about side effects well, there will be some of course but that’s going to be a minority. I think and there is going to be a great rush for people to get this vaccine,” he added.
As the people’s fear of infection by Covid-19 is even greater than in encounters with past viruses, Mangahas said September survey indicates that a majority of them cooperate with health protocols on using masks and shields, washing hands, physical distancing, and staying at home.
He said more than nine out of 10 respondents are also willing to comply with contact tracing efforts.
“These are signs of cooperation if you ask me, especially on willingness to comply with contract tracing efforts. Filipino people are very willing to do these things – self quarantine, to list the people they come into contact with, to state their cellular phone location, and to volunteer even for testing to track the progression of the virus,” Mangahas said.
“So voluntarily, they are doing these things already, (the) very great majority of these people. You don’t have to have military or armed people to force them to do these things,” he added.
Mangahas said surveys also found that the pains and stresses on the people are due both to their voluntary sacrifices and to the government-imposed lockdowns, curfews, and stoppage of public transport.
The SWS conducted mobile phone surveys in May, July and September from a database built from 2017-2019 probability surveys.
Sample sizes of these surveys were 4,010 in May 4-10; 1,555 in July 3-6, and 1,249 in Sept. 17-20. Mangahas said phone surveys conducted in May and July likewise led to discovery that 5 percent of respondents were stranded by community quarantines.
“So, this reveals to us that work away from home is not only overseas, it is also across the entire country. People leave home, go away to another region to work for maybe weeks or months, remit money home, come back home every so often. But if they can’t do that, then of course that causes suffering, that causes stranding, so we estimate four million stranded domestically because we did this by mobile phone,” he added.