As part of PRSP’s activities to impart information encouraging members to effect positive change through their work, the Society’s first ProfDev session for 2021 equipped participants with the knowledge to craft COVID-19 vaccine rollout communication strategies that would aid in the country’s efforts to achieve herd immunity. The webinar, which was mounted on April 20, was a joint initiative of the PRSP, International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Philippines, and International Public Relations Association (IPRA) Philippines.
Titled VAX POPULI: DRIVING COVID-19 VACCINE ACCEPTANCE, the event also aimed to provide a platform for collaboration between the government and the private sector on vaccine awareness and acceptance, and to increase vaccine acceptance levels in participants’ organizations.
Invited to lead the discussion were three distinguished guests. McDonald’s Philippines Managing Director and Ingat Angat Tayong Lahat Communications Advocacy Co-Lead Margot Torres revealed what her group has been doing to rally the private sector to participate in the fight against COVID-19 and shared communication templates which participants can personalize and spread to promote information on the country’s vaccination program. Meanwhile, Dr. Mario Panaligan, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, debunked myths about the COVID-19 vaccine and explained why getting vaccinated sooner rather than later with the currently available vaccines is an important step to stem the deadly virus. Lastly, the Department of Health (DOH) Health Promotion Bureau Chief and Special Assistant to the Secretary Dr. Beverly Lorraine Ho discussed the RESBAKUNA campaign of the DOH and stressed the importance of harnessing communication to achieve COVID-19 herd immunity.
Herd immunity occurs when a substantial portion of the population is immune to a disease, in this case COVID-19, thus protecting individuals who have not developed immunity. The greater the proportion of a population that is immune to COVID-19, the lower the probability that a susceptible person will come in contact with an infectious person. Herd immunity is beneficial to various segments of society including children who are too young to be vaccinated, the elderly who cannot mount an optimal immune response to a vaccine, people who have inadequate access to immunization, and people who remain unvaccinated by choice.