Dr. Lulu Bravo expounded on the benefits far outweigh the disadvantges of vaccination during the second day of the Injecting Hope seminar-workshop at the Century Park Sheraton Hotel in Manila on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023. – Photo by Harold T. Raymundo

By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.

MANILA – Media can make or break anything, according to health experts.

Dr. Lulu Bravo, executive director of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination (PFV), said that the media can really make or break any event, any people, anything anyway during the second day on Thursday (Nov. 30) of “Injecting Hope” seminar-workshop organized by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) and Pfizer Philippines held at the Century Park Sheraton Hotel in the City of Manila.

It was in 1974, that Dr. Bravo started looking at how many children finished their vaccination in a year, however, it was found out that only 10 percent finished such vaccination.

The professor emeritus of the University of the Philippines Manila has been advocating for vaccination for the last 50 years, making her credible in the field of vaccination.

She has been conducting vaccination trials for the last 36 years with different companies and that she can give lectures “pro bono”.

It’s not true that receiving vaccine can cause autism. Also, there are now 12 organized groups in the United States of America who are spreading disinformation about vaccines.

Likewise, it’s not true that the ingredients in vaccines are dangerous in the sense that health scientists and experts study vaccines to save lives, insure safety and efficacy of vaccines and continue to do research to improve.

There are always other experts to check each other for their accuracy and reliability. It’s not only one person that is doing the test but there are many.

It’s also not true that receiving a vaccine can cause disability and death such that clinical trials are done on vaccines to insure its safety.

On the other hand, it’s partially true that better hygiene and sanitation are actually responsible for decreased infections, not vaccines. It’s not true that adults do not need vaccines because they are stronger.

Children with less mature immune system are most vulnerable to diseases but parents and adults can protect them if they are themselves vaccinated or immune. They can protect the children by not transmitting the disease to them.

It’s partially true for some diseases that the natural immunity I get from being sick with a disease is better than the immunity I get from vaccination like measles but there is a high risk of dying from getting the disease which you do not get from being vaccinated.

However, it’s not true with Covid-19 such that partial protection from natural disease is achieved but vaccination will offer greater protection especially with variants coming in.

Having dengue for the last 70 years in the Philippines did not improve the vaccine.

24 million people more could have died without the vaccination for the first year of Covid-19, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

It’s not true that researchers rushed the development of the Covid-19 vaccine, so its effectiveness and safety cannot be trusted.

There are more chances of you getting hit by lightning, or encounter a vehicular accident than getting an auto-immune disease. That’s why the benefits outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to vaccines.

It’s true that social media is full of stories telling about vaccine bad effects but are they true? They should not be immediately shared, but rather, think about it before sharing it.

It’s not true that all events reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System are caused by vaccination.

Those related to vaccines such as allergy, anaphylaxis or side effects causing hospitalization, can be compensable under the law.

10 important facts on the benefits of vaccines

Vaccines can protect against related diseases.

Vaccines extend life expectancy.

Some vaccines prevent cancer. Hepatitis B vaccines have anti-cancer properties against stomach cancer.

Vaccines enhance equity where poor or rich people are equal in terms of vaccination.

Vaccines prevent the development of diseases.

Vaccines empower women.

Vaccines promote peace because in Pakistan, a ceasefire is declared when there is vaccination.

Vaccination contributes to economic growth.

In 319 days, China has developed a vaccine against SARS-COV 2, otherwise known as Covid-19.

“If a pandemic occurs, you will have ‘100-day mission’ wherein when the ‘genetic code’ is secured, in 100 days, a vaccine can be developed,” Dr. Bravo said.

“We are working on vaccine hesitance and had been working with PAPO for the longest time on meningitis because we wanted people to advocate on awareness on meningitis,” she added.

Dr. Bravo, who has been a “clinical trialist” for the longest time, had been working on vaccines for the last 50 years.

Prevalence of cases of Belle’s Palsy or Auto-Immune Disease in certain areas may determine whether or not vaccines have to be introduced.

In 2019, 800 children died of measles when in fact, since 2005 measles had been eradicated.

Baguio City has a good vaccination program because they were “burned” with Meninggococcal infectious disease, knowing that only 0.1 percent may die of Dengue or Hemorrhagic Fever.

Dr. Bravo cited that 27 Health officials have been indicted for Reckless Imprudence Resulting ton Multiple Homicide due to the inoculation of Dengvaxia Vaccines, which for her, is a form of “harassment”.

The WHO mentioned that nice thing happened in the Philippines that despite the 70 percent vaccination hesitancy among the elderlies, still the country managed to weather the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Bravo noted that Sally Gatchalian, a sister of Ruby Rodriguez, died from Covid-19.

“We are fighting the DOM. Disinformation, Oportunista and Misinformation, whether or not intentional. They are the anti-vaxxers,” she said.

Dr. Bravo, 73 years old and a pediatrician by professional training, said that for as long as the intention is pure, honest and for the common good, it does not matter whether or not there is a reward or punishment in so far as information related to Covid-19 is concerned.     

Fatima “Girlie” Lorenzo, board member of the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO), the consumer-based Health Care Advocacy organized PAPO.

The contribution of PAPO to the “Whole-of-society” approach to vaccination is the “Kwentong Bakuna” where many were convinced to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Pretle: Framework to engage various stakeholders for an integrated approach in developing and implementing an immunization/vaccination program.

P is for Policy where the head is the Department of Health (DOH), including the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration), Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC), DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), DepEd (Department of Education), and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Integration and harmonization must be done within the DOH and its attached agencies.

R is for Research and Innovation where Globe and Smart may provide free internet or construct a cell site for the dissemination of information on vaccines.

E is for Evaluation where feedback is important on how we can evaluate the efficacy of vaccination.

T stands for Technical Assistance provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), Alliance for Improving Health

L is for Legislation in order to amend the Procurement Law, Immunization Bill and Barangay Health Workers Magna Carta wherein the BHWs only receive a Php500 monthly allowance.

E stands for Engagement wherein the PPI, Social Media can help disseminate information on vaccination.

PAPO can make referrals to their support groups.

The Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) is now threatening to be the next pandemic disease.

Lorenzo stressed that PAPO had not been invited to a seminar-workshop or forum and it’s the first time that PAPO had invited by the PPI for the conduct of the seminar-workshop.