With many Filipinos still hesitant to get their booster jabs, this new initiative has successfully lured them in, all with the help of wildlife.
The Manila Zoo has been turned into a makeshift vaccination centre in an effort to entice people to receive the Covid-19 booster shots. Kicking off the initiative on January 19, 2022, getting injected while enjoying a zoo trip seemed to have worked successfully as people took the bait!
INCLUDING THE YOUNG AND ELDERLY
The exciting environment of watching animals from around the world appealed greatly to young people aged between 12 and 17, as well as senior citizens who were the most ‘hesitant’ group to get vaccinated. It made a worrisome experience for many much more pleasant as they got to enjoy touring the zoo after their booster shots.
“Aside from being safe and also getting vaccinated, the kids can also enjoy the outdoors, the scenery, and the animals that are here inside,” said Joyce Pablo, a mother who brought her child for a zoo jab.
Some may question how such an idea even came about, but to those that successfully pulled it off, it wasn’t as far-fetched as it seems.
VACCINE PREFERENCE STILL AN ISSUE
The Philippines has a history of vaccine hesitancy, which was amplified during the earlier phases of the pandemic, when would-be vaccine recipients expressed an explicit preference for Western-made doses like Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca, as opposed to Chinese vaccines like Sinovac.
According to the World Bank’s High Frequency Monitoring (HFM) Surveys, the share of respondents who “will get vaccine doses when [they] become available” is significantly lower in the Philippines compared to other countries in the region.
When presented with the data, turning a zoo into a vaccination centre to get people to protect themselves further isn’t such an outlandish idea.
“After the vaccination of those aged 12-17 years, seniors, and those with multiple illnesses, they can go around the zoo,” Ray Salinel, a doctor, told Reuters.
“Even if the zoo isn’t completely open, they can enjoy the sights, the peacocks, eagles, and Mali (elephant). They can relax and forget about their problems.”
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