Enhancing risk communication amid the pandemic

In a pandemic, people must receive accurate and timely information so they can make informed choices. To help provincial health leaders in their critical risk communication task, Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) co-created a manual with the governments of Agusan del Sur, Aklan, and Bataan.

The manual contains the basic steps, worksheets, templates, and recommended activities in enhancing risk communication plans. It is available here: https://bit.ly/3ft3Bn6.

Webinar on COVID-19 vaccine
ZFF also addressed concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine by holding a webinar on May 17. Safety emerged as a common concern among the participants, particularly to those with comorbidities such as chronic respiratory disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, malignancy, diabetes mellitus, obesity, and chronic kidney disease.

Dr. Catherine Chung, ZFF director, reiterated that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective even for those with underlying medical conditions. However, those with autoimmune conditions, (human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), or cancer, and those who had a transplant or are bedridden need medical clearance to get the vaccine.

Dr. Anthony Faraon, ZFF deputy executive director, also clarified that the vaccine is not advisable for people with allergies to the ingredients of the vaccine and those who had severe allergic reactions after their first dose. Minors, too, are not yet advised to take the vaccine.

Questions about side effects were also raised. Dr. Ramir Blanco, ZFF director, noted that blood clotting due to the COVID-19 vaccine is rare (about 4 in 1 million). The common side effects are pain, redness, itchiness or swelling on the area of injection, and flu-like symptoms (chills, joint pains, headache) that will all subside in one to three days. These are signs that the body is building immunity to the virus.

The webinar also showed the BIDA BakuNation video of the Department of Health (DOH) on the 10 common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine as narrated by public health expert Dr. Beverly Lorraine Ho. The video highlighted the need to have at least 70 percent of the population be vaccinated to achieve herd community and effectively protect everyone from the COVID-19 virus.

A recording of the webinar can be found on ZFF’s Facebook Page: https://bit.ly/3hCKDNo.