‘Vaccination must be a moral responsibility’

UPV Chancellor Clement Camposano (right) explains the purpose of Bakuna Iloilo movement during its launching on Monday. (Photo courtesy of UP Visayas FB page)

With the start of the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out in the region and Iloilo City, Ilonggo doctors urged the public to take part in the vaccination program as part of their moral responsibility to stop the transmission of the disease.

During the launching of “Bakuna Iloilo” campaign at the University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV) Iloilo City campus on Monday, Ilonggo doctors working in the city and Metro Manila rallied for support for the Covid-19 vaccination campaign.

According to Dr. Ronnie Samoro, Ilonggos should get vaccinated as part of their moral responsibility to help stop Covid-19 transmission.

“Vaccination is a personal decision pero bulig mo man ina sa tawo. It is a personal decision to help other people. The Pope is saying that vaccination is a moral responsibility by everyone, so we have to do our responsibility para mapunggan na ang paglapta sang Covid-19,” he said.

Another Ilonggo doctor, Louie Tirador explained that all Covid-19 vaccines, regardless of the brand, are effective in preventing severe Covid-19 complications and mortality.

Tirador explained that viral diseases in the past, such as smallpox, polio, and measles, were prevented because of vaccines.

With over two million Covid-related deaths worldwide, Tirador added that the vaccine is needed more than ever.

“These vaccine brands from Sinovac, Astrazeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, and all the other vaccines have different components, indications, and efficacy. But they have all undergone clinical trials, and they all have the same goal and guarantee and that is to prevent complications and death caused by Covid-19,” Tirador stressed.

“Bakuna Iloilo” is the brainchild of the UPV alumni association and officials in partnership with the city government, and Iloilo provincial government. The core of the group is composed of medical practitioners in Iloilo City and Iloilo province and citizen volunteers.

The group aims to provide the public with the “wider prospect” of the Covid-19 vaccination for them to realize the importance of getting vaccinated.

“The more that you educate them, the more that they will understand. So, the bottomline is sharing correct information and assurance,” Dr. Marovi Celis, a dermatologist in Iloilo City said in an interview after the launching.

Celis said more programs will be implemented to further intensify the vaccination campaign such as the conduct of webinars using the available social media platforms.

Aimed at filling the gap regarding the spread of reliable information about the vaccination, Bakuna Iloilo members believe that this initiative is instrumental in educating people and eliminating the fears and anxiety surrounding the community’s reluctance to be vaccinated.

They also want to emphasize that the best vaccine is the one that is available. Doctor Eileen Aniceto of the Lung Center of the Philippines said that getting the vaccine protects not only an individual but also their immediate family members. This, in return, also contributes to getting everyone protected.

Dr. Cynthia Cabangal Ng said that it is important to raise awareness and get the community’s commitment. While getting the vaccine is an ultimate act of self-preservation, it is also an act that would benefit the community and the nation. She added that spreading the correct information backed by evidence and science can help us make informed decisions.



Samoro also pointed out that we need proactive measures, rather than reactive, to address the community’s fears and reluctance. Bakuna Iloilo would like to focus on efforts that would eventually increase awareness and the level of acceptance of people.

He also noted that what the community needs to understand is that all vaccines available right now are 100% effective in preventing severe symptoms. While mild symptoms can occur, severe cases are avoided.

Dr. Rodney Dofitas said that the vaccination hesitancy has decreased, and there has been better acceptance.

“Fear is the most important problem. (Ano) ang kahadlukan mo, ang vaccine or ang Covid? (What will you be more afraid of, the vaccine or Covid?),” Dofitas added.



Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Philip Ian Padilla highlighted that this is a shared responsibility that must be inculcated amongst ourselves so that the effects reach out to the larger community.

As the venue host of the press launch, UPV Chancellor Dr. Clement Camposano also stressed that the university has always welcomed these initiatives. As the fight for misinformation and disinformation becomes even more challenging, Camposano stressed that “This is the time to step forward. This is the time to be heard.” (ERS/With a report by Charmie Saligumba, Division of Humanities, UPV-CAS)