Pharmaceutical companies and infectious disease experts said the COVID-19 pandemic raised awareness of vaccination and brought some issues surrounding vaccination to the forefront.
Dr. Ellyana Ismail, Head of Health Care at Takeda Pharmaceutical in Singapore and Malaysia, said the pandemic provided insights into vaccine hesitation and how to communicate information about vaccines to companies like her.
“When we talk about stakeholders, or opinion leaders, we realize that it can be an influential community leader, not just the top people,” she said.
“These are what we have learned, and I think we will end up with a strategy for how to deploy (vaccine) after approval.”
Professor Emeritus Lulu Bravo of the University School of Medicine said: Manila, Philippines.
Professor Pan also said that there was a silver lining in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At COVID-19, there is a crisis. Yes, but above all, there is an opportunity. At a large level, it convinced everyone of the value of vaccination,” he added.
However, he said the COVID-19 vaccine “had a lot of resistance” and emphasized that the introduction of a new vaccine would require providing the right information to reassure people.
The biggest challenges at the moment are false information and fake news.
“Before social media became widespread, the amount of fake news, false alarms, hoaxes, propaganda, and conspiracy theories wasn’t as bad as it was with COVID,” said Professor Pang.
“Therefore, the challenge of introducing a new vaccine is much greater,” he added.
“New vaccines are not 100% safe or 100% effective. There are always side effects … the risks and benefits need to be weighed, and that is the importance of communication.”
In agreement, Professor Bravo said communication is an important part of developing dengue vaccination.
Cases of dengue fever are on the rise in Singapore. More than 12,000 cases have been reported this year, up from 5,258 cases in 2021 as a whole.
As the country entered the peak season of dengue from June to October, authorities urged everyone to take “immediate action” to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds.