Vaccine Philippines

Patience, Anxiety, Resignation: Millennials And Gen Z Say What They Really Think Of The COVID-19 Vaccines

They're willing to wait, but that doesn't mean they're going to put up with nonsense.

These young people get honest about what they think about getting the vaccine, who deserves it most, and the country’s vaccination efforts.

As many countries around the world vaccinate their population against COVID-19, there is a demographic of people that are going to get their vaccines near to the last, young people. Unless they have a special condition or work in a priority area, most young people are most likely getting the vaccine later than their parents and everyone else. With everything that has been going on, what exactly do young people think about this? We asked some unvaccinated Millennials and members of Gen Z to share their thoughts on what they really think about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Related: Young People Share Their Experience Getting The COVID-19 Vaccine

“I don’t mind having to wait for getting vaccinated as long as it goes to the right people first.”

A lot of things have been said about the COVID-19 vaccines: they are the key to stopping the pandemic, they have unknown long-term side effects, some vaccines are better than others. This mixed messaging has affected how some young people see the COVID-19 vaccines in general. Jess, a 23-year-old video editor has heard that “There are numerous vaccines that have varied efficacy rates and side effects.” Lay, a 21-year-old university student has come upon mixed things about the vaccines, saying that it’s both good against COVID-19 and that the side effects may or may not be real. Mikey, a 25-year-old software engineer says that “…I think one of the underlying issues with vaccines is not the vaccine itself, but the credibility of where the vaccine was produced.”

Most young people will most likely wait a while longer to get the vaccine, the respondents we talked to didn’t see this as an issue. “I don’t mind having to wait for getting vaccinated as long as it goes to the right people first,” says Lay. This was a sentiment that was also shared by Mikey and Nat, a 23-year-old community manager.

Mac, a 27-year-old architectural apprentice, and Angelica, a 22-year-old who works at a local music company, also said that they were willing to wait, but that their personal circumstances were making them slowly feel that getting the vaccine would be better sooner rather than later. For Mac, he says that his work “tends to force my hand to work in the office and I was recently in close contact with a positive case. The situation made me realize I’m exposed and vulnerable when in the office and what scares me is what if I possibly bring home the virus and spread it to my family.” Angelica, meanwhile, recently had a close contact with a positive case near her home, which made her feel like she needs protection “as soon as possible.”

Another thing they also see no issue with is being last on the priority list. “I think it’s fair, especially since COVID-19 is more severe on the older ones,” says Angelica. “Statistics show that the older age groups and those with underlying health issues are more vulnerable to the virus, so it is fair that they are prioritized,” adds Jess. Mac feels that the situation feels “completely understandable.” He also adds that, “The young have a better immunity system and have the energy to stay more cautious.” Mikey also feels the same way, but he cautions that “it doesn’t give an excuse for the government and those in charge to continue delaying vaccination efforts.”

While some people assume that being fully vaccinated is good reason enough to step outside more confidently, studies show that this isn’t the case. “I don’t think that getting vaccinated would immediately change my feeling about going outside…I’ll generally stay cautious just to play it safe,” explains Lay. “I would rather stay cautious when going out and still keep my distance from crowds,” says Mac. “I will continue to follow safety protocols and social distancing rules for as long as needed,” adds Jess. Mikey also shares these sentiments by saying, “I will continue to social distance until the majority of the population has been vaccinated or I ensure that those I see are already vaccinated.”

Just because they weren’t willing to stop following social distancing rules post-vaccination does not mean though that they aren’t already thinking about their plans once a big majority of the population are vaccinated. All of them said that they want to travel again once it is safe to do so. Meeting up with friends and family was also another popular response. Mac would also love to watch a movie in the cinema while Mikey is looking forward to being able to watch a concert in person again.

“I was told so, but I’m keeping the mindset of not receiving it para lang ‘di ako mapaasa.”

With the slow rollout of vaccines in this country and news of delays of vaccine shipments to later this year, the young people we talked to were divided on whether or not they would be given the opportunity to get vaccinated this year. Jess and Mac are already scheduled to get a vaccine later this year. Lay feels hopeful that he will, but he also has his doubts. Angelica and Nat both think they won’t get vaccinated while Mikey adds, “I was told so, but I’m keeping the mindset of not receiving it para lang ‘di ako mapaasa.”

One of the big reasons why people are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccines is because of the possible side effects since the vaccines are new and it isn’t clear yet what the long-term effects could possibly be. There was a noticeable divide among the young people about any fears they have of getting the COVID-19 vaccine. One on hand, Angelica, Lay, and Mac all have no fears with regards to getting the vaccine. Jess, Mikey, and Nat, on the other hand, all said that they were about the possible long-term side effects to their health.  

“Gets my blood boiling.”

As of this writing, there are two vaccines currently available in the Philippines: AstraZeneca and Sinovac, with the latter being more widely available. It was clear though that the young people we talked to were no fans of Sinovac. “A lot of people are apprehensive about getting vaccinated since Sinovac is the main one being distributed in the Philippines, which has an efficacy of only 50%,” says Jess. Mac says that “The most accessible one which is Sinovac is by far the most “sketchy” since it started with a lot of bad reputation when first introduced.” Lay then adds, “Given that there’s quite a lot of Sinovac vaccines going around, you can’t help but think that there might be some political motive behind it.”

With the late arrival of new vaccines from different makers though as well as a surge in cases, it has been said that it is better to just get any vaccine that is offered, a sentiment shared by Mikey. “At first I didn’t want to receive anything from China, but at this rate, with the lack of availability and options to choose from, I think it’s best at this rate to choose whatever vaccine is available for as long as it goes from the due process set by the government.”

He adds that the feeling of resignation that he has is also shared among his friends: “We share the same sentimentality that at the rate of how things are, it might be best to just choose whatever is available.”

While the young people we talked to did not mind waiting on the sidelines and for their turn to get the vaccine, it bothered them about how the country’s vaccination efforts are currently going. “Overall, it has been slow and inefficient. It seems that private corporations have put more effort into vaccinations than our own government. This makes it feel like Filipinos have been left to their own devices when it comes to getting vaccinated…” says Jess. Lay adds, “I would describe it as late and slow. Of course, it’s great that we started getting people vaccinated, but the response is seriously slow, especially when some people get vaccinated earlier by cutting lines. Our situation is worsening day by day, so the current state of our country’s response is not enough.”

Mikey feels that “Our government’s mindset is never in the long run and it only responds once a problem comes up. To add, the government just never seems to learn from its mistakes and continues to produce the same blunders over and over again.” And as Mac bluntly puts it, “I hate it. The fact we’re the only country in Asia to sue a vaccine company really gets my blood boiling.”

So, what can be done to improve the situation, especially when it comes to encouraging more young people to get the vaccine? The young people we talked to have a list of suggestions. Mac wants people to know that getting vaccinated should be seen as a selfless act meant to help the community as he explains, “Getting a vaccine is more than just personal safety and health, it’s about seeing the bigger picture and we’re all in this together.” Angelica would like for organized dissemination of verified information since she’s confused about getting the vaccine through her local LGU or her company. Mikey thinks that vaccines should meet the people where they are instead of being centralized in certain locations.

Lay and Jess, meanwhile, think that education should be a top priority. “I think more young people would be open to getting vaccination by getting educated about the vaccines. The internet is a valuable source of information these days, and clearing out some facts and debunking myths about COVID-19 vaccinations would definitely help.” says Lay. “Commit to widespread information drives targeted towards the youth regarding vaccinations.” adds Jess.

Continue Reading: There’s A Reason Why You Will Have To Wait For Your Turn To Get Vaccinated

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Young People Share Their Experience Getting The COVID-19 Vaccine

The stories of the young and vaccinated.

These young people were some of the earliest members of Gen Z to get a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines.

Ever since the first vaccines were approved for use late last year, the whole world has been in a race to vaccinate as many people as possible against COVID-19. The first vaccines arrived in the Philippines in late February with priority given to healthcare workers, essential workers, senior citizens, and people with comorbidities. Near the bottom of the list though are young people, Gen Z, and Millennials who do not fit into any of the special conditions.

It is expected that most young people would have to wait a little while to get vaccinated. However, some young people have gotten the vaccine whether they are a healthcare worker or meet a special condition. Here are some of their stories and experiences to inform other young people about what it is like to get vaccinated.

Related: There’s A Reason Why You Will Have To Wait For Your Turn To Get Vaccinated

Thoughts On Vaccines

Miguel is 22 years old, and his job classifies him as a healthcare worker. He is required to visit different clinics on a daily basis and attend to the logistics and operations of the clinics to make sure that they are up and running properly. This kind of exposure would make you think that Miguel wanted to get the vaccine as soon as possible, but he was actually hesitant about it. “I was iffy about the brands of vaccines. I didn’t trust the ones coming from lesser-known countries,” he says of his early preferences. “There was also the fear of the after-effects of getting vaccinated, as well as the possible long-term effects.” He says that he wanted to wait and see first what the experiences of others would be like. This way, he thought, would help him prepare for what to experience in the days after his vaccination.

Amanda, a 21-year-old college student, has allergic rhinitis, which makes her eligible under the A3 priority group. She saw the vaccines as something she needed to get. “I knew that receiving the vaccine was a necessary precaution I should take, to help curb the transmission of the virus, and of course, protect myself, my family, and the people I come in contact with.” She furthers, “I did not mind having to wait, however I wanted to get vaccinated as soon as possible, if that makes sense. So, I thought it best to register as soon as possible to not encounter problems with regards to vaccine brand and availability.”

Signing-up And Pre-Vaccination Feelings

Miguel’s local LGU was already informing local healthcare workers about the vaccine, as well as of the company he was working for. Miguel applied to get the vaccine in late March and was soon scheduled for right after.

Since both of them live in Quezon City, they signed sign up via the ezConsult app. The first time Miguel tried to do it, the app glitched, but he was able to get through. Amanda meanwhile was able to get her vaccine schedule for early April the day after she submitted the requirements after struggling to get proper documents.

The day before Miguel was scheduled to get the vaccine, he couldn’t sleep. “I was researching on possible side effects for the long term. No one knows what this vaccine will do years from now to our bodies, but if I can prevent hospitalization and death from COVID-19, then it’s okay.” He was able to calm down because he felt that the pros of getting the vaccine outweighed the cons.

Amanda has a mix of emotions. On one hand, she felt relieved that she was able to get an appointment. But on the other, she felt frustrated for those do not have the same resources as her even though she and her family did struggle a bit with the process. She goes on to say “I couldn’t help but think, ‘Do other people know this as well? Do they have the means to access these sites and the documents being required of them? What are LGUs doing to ensure that the less privileged are not left behind?’”

Mixed Experience

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Miguel went to his vaccination site in Cubao and brought his medical IDs and his phone for the QR code. He got there at 8:00 AM and was scheduled to get the AstraZeneca vaccine at 9:00 AM, but he got injected at 12:00 PM.

Amanda got the Sinovac vaccine because it was both recommended for her age and it was the only one available at the vaccination site. She brought a valid ID, a medical certificate, and an email confirming her vaccine slot. “The center had many stations that I had to pass through to confirm my slot, identity, checked my vitals, and medical history, briefed me on the vaccine and possible side effects, etc. After [the injection], we were asked to stay in an observation room for 30 minutes where they checked our vitals again, and then we were good to go.” The whole process took Amanda one hour.

Miguel shares that he felt the side effects within the first 24 hours. “Within the first 10 hours I was still able to work with migraines and body pain, however, I contracted a high fever on hour 12. I filed a sick leave and spent the next day in bed.” He says that his co-workers who got the vaccine at the same time as he did also experienced side effects. By day 3, he felt better and by the end of the week, he was no longer experiencing any side effects.

Amanda had the opposite experience. “My injected arm hurt a little whenever I moved it in doing tasks such as writing, dressing up, or lifting things. Otherwise, I experienced no other side effects,” she details.

These days, Miguel and Amanda are feeling fine and are both thankful for different things. For Miguel, it’s that he and his fellow healthcare workers were prioritized, and for Amanda, she didn’t experience any of the serious side effects. Both expect to get the second dose of the vaccine from around the second half of April to the first half of May.

Post Vaccination Feeling

Those who have been vaccinated may feel more at ease when they go out knowing that they have protection, but Miguel and Amanda do not see it that way. “It hasn’t made me any less cautious. I still disinfect all my things and wear my mask at all times. The fear is 30% for myself and 70% fear of infecting my loved ones who aren’t vaccinated yet,” says Miguel. For the time being, Miguel isn’t going out of the house like he used to pre-COVID. Amanda agrees, saying: “The best way to curb the transmission of the virus is to still stay at home and avoid contact with others.”

Most people around Miguel and Amanda’s age will most likely have to wait a little bit longer to get a vaccine, which might seem unfair to some people, but Miguel thinks that it’s okay, with some caveats though. “In any mass distribution, if this isn’t done, then things will get messy. It was good doing this since exposure is highest among healthcare workers. It’s a good balance of vulnerability and exposure, however, I hope that things can be sped up a bit. It’s inexcusable for this to reach 2022.”

Amanda feels though that there should be more exceptions for people her age. “I am well aware that there are those my age who have to constantly go out due to work or other essential matters, and so they need the vaccine more than others. There are also those with already affected family members. I think aside from the current priority groups, these people should also be taken into account. Their circumstances should also be considered. I think there are many things in the current system that determines how soon one gets their vaccine that can be improved.”

Their Advice

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As young people continue to wait for their turn, some may become anxious to get it, which Miguel understands. “I can’t blame them, but doing research is optimal. And asking close friends who got vaccinated help,” he advises.

Information is also something that Amanda sees as a way to help dissuade nerves. “Fear mongering is so easy to do in a digital age where personal contact is minimal, so protect yourself from fake news by staying knowledgeable and verifying your sources. Please do check first if your concerns are not products of misinformation, and learn about the importance of vaccines in this pandemic.”

As for the rest of the population who are waiting to get vaccinated, he wants people to know that getting a COVID-19 vaccine is “like any other vaccine, and the more vaccinated people there are, the earlier we can return to pre-COVID life.”

Amanda adds, “We should always still err on the side of caution and not only think about ourselves since COVID-19 is something that affects us as a nation.”

CONTINUE READING: Should We Take The Vaccine? A Debate That Became Too Personal

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Should We Take The Vaccine? A Debate That Became Too Personal

It's not because we don't want to get vaccinated.

When your parents are healthcare workers, the debate on vaccines becomes personal.

If you think that having important conversations about the need for a safe and highly effective vaccine is just “noise,” please check your privilege.

RELATED: So, You Want To Party Amid A Pandemic? Don’t.


The end of 2020 gave people a sense of hope when it was announced that a few vaccines were approved for use and mass development. My parents, who risk their safety every time they get in their PPEs, leave the house, and go to the hospital, would finally get the help they deserve. I thought that in 2021, something good was finally going to happen and healthcare workers can finally get vaccinated. But things can’t be that simple and instead, we get vaccine delays, overpriced vaccines that have a lower efficacy rate compared to cheaper vaccines, certain people getting the vaccine early despite the fact that it was not FDA approved—and more.

It is infuriating how like with a lot of things in this country, the vaccines are turned into an unnecessary spectacle. I asked my parents and other healthcare workers for their opinions, considering that they are at the heart of the vaccination roll-out. It became clear to me that the feeling of frustration is shared amongst them.

“It feels frustrating as to why it took so long when this should have been thought of a long time ago,” said one doctor.

“It’s sad but I’m not surprised. Doctors were already informed that these vaccines will be arriving on a specific date and yet they did not. It’s not even clear why there was and will be a delay despite a date given already. There’s no transparency at all,” added another doctor.

I want my parents to be safe. I want all doctors and nurses to be safe. Even if I do not get vaccinated within the year or next, I will be happy as long as my parents are. So when the government pushes a vaccine that is proven to be less effective than other vaccines and not recommended by the FDA to be given to the healthcare workers, it raises a lot of questions. All this uncertainty has affected how the healthcare workers I know see the vaccines.

One doctor told me that she would not take the Chinese-made vaccines even if they offered them to her as she would prefer a vaccine with a higher efficacy rate. She says that as of now, she is willing to wait until other, more effective vaccines, are available.

Another doctor said that he would get the Chinese-made vaccines if he had no choice. But he added, even if these vaccines significantly lowers the chances of severe symptoms and death, the low efficacy rates mean that there is still a good chance he will get the virus. Even if the symptoms will be mild, he will still be away from his patients for at least two weeks which he says is an added inconvenience on a healthcare system that is already under attack.

Discrediting Important Discussions

A few days ago, I came across a post that said that when people are vocal about issues such as with the vaccines or other relevant topics and voice their dissent, it just contributes to noise. This reminded me of a quote that goes: “Politics doesn’t interest you because you have no interest in changing the world that suits you so well.”

I mean, if you want to talk about noise, that is when you discredit and malign healthcare workers who raise valid points that need to be discussed. When doctors and healthcare workers raise these types of questions, they aren’t “making noise” as some people falsely claim. These vaccines could be the key to ending the pandemic so it’s important to talk about them to clarify any questions or hesitations.

You don’t lower your standards when it comes to your public officials and holding them accountable for their actions. We hold government officials in higher regard for accountability because it is their job to do what is right for the people, not for themselves. This is precisely why it is disappointing: how slow this vaccine rollout is going. But apparently for some people, expressing criticism should be illegal in this country.

Holding On To Hope

Pretty soon, it will have been a long and lingering year since the start of the lockdown, and yet, things are still not going well or anywhere, as it seems. When the government just follows through on the bare minimum standards of mask-wearing, physical distancing, and handwashing, as well as of a false sense of security with the face shield, don’t be surprised when people have their doubts. If the last year taught me anything, it’s that transparency and the people’s best interest are not necessarily their top priorities.

With so much controversy going around, I understand the doubt my parents have. They want to get vaccinated, but given current events, they understandably have their reservations. Seeing all these issues related to the country’s vaccination plans knowing that my parents are going to be some of the first people to get the shots.

Hopefully, my parents and their fellow healthcare workers can get vaccinated by the end of the year. More so, one can only wish that politicians won’t use the vaccines to further their political agendas, because we have an election in just over a year from now (if you aren’t registered to vote, do so). Now, when the vaccine comes out, I do hope that the priority groups get it first and that people would get a fair chance of getting the vaccine instead of having to fight for it or paying to go on a VIP list.

It is sad that my parents and other healthcare workers have to deal with this situation, but it is a reality that they face daily. They want what’s best because their lives are on the line and if people actually started listening to them, maybe things could get better.