Amid reports that over 21,000 measles cases have been recorded across the country with 315 fatalities, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros called on the Department of Health (DOH) to study the possibility of incentivizing its vaccination programs to motivate more Filipinos to get their recommended vaccines.
Hontiveros, who is the Vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Health, said that on top of the government’s information drive, incentive rewards may be given in exchange for receiving a vaccination and returning for subsequent vaccination shots. She said that this could be in the form of food vouchers, medicine discounts and even tax credits.
Hontiveros cited Australia as an example. She explained that the Australian government provides financial incentives for parents to get kids vaccinated in the form of tax credits. Doctors, too, are incentivized when children get vaccinations on schedule.
As a result, in January 2016, more than 210,000 families had taken action to ensure that they comply with Australia’s immunization programs.
“Libreng load para sa bakuna”
Hontiveros said that telecommunication companies could also help in providing incentives as part of their corporate social responsibility.
“Aside from text message reminders, maybe the telcos can provide incentives in the form of ‘libreng load’ for families whose children have completed their vaccinations. Libreng pasa load para sa bakuna,” Hontiveros said.
“While educating people about the benefits of vaccination is our top priority, these proposals are worth studying and exploring. As we double our efforts to increase our vaccination coverage, especially in urban poor localities and far-flung areas where children are prone to preventable diseases, we must also be creative in employing new strategies,” Hontiveros said.