Malacañang said the public is still free to refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in vaccination sites if they prefer other brands.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement following the order to local government units (LGUs) to refrain from disclosing the brand of vaccines to be administered in vaccination sites.
In PTV-4’s Laging Handa public briefing, Roque maintained that the non-disclosure order will remain but explained that the brand will not be kept a secret to the public because it is their right to be informed.
“Bagaman hindi ia-anunsyo ng LGU ang vaccine brand, sasabihin sa mga mababakunahan ang vaccine brand habang nasa vaccination center (Despite LGUs not announcing the vaccine brand, the people will be told what brands will be used on them in the vaccination center),” he said Friday.
“Hindi ililihim sa mababakunahan ang bakunang ibibigay sa kanya. Karapatan niyo pong malaman at tanggihan ito (The brand to be used on a patient won’t be kept a secret to the public. It is their right to be informed and refuse it),” he added.
Netizens and certain personalities have expressed concern about the non-disclosure order, saying it will violate the people’s right to informed consent.
On Friday, Roque reiterated that while people have the right to refuse to be vaccinated, they should not be picky when it comes to the brand of vaccines because all shots were equally effective.
“Nirerespeto po namin ang karapatan ng bawat isa na pumili ng brand na nais nila ngunit tandaan natin na ang coronavirus… ay walang pinipiling tao o panahon (We respect the right of each individual to choose the brand they want but let us remember that COVID-19 does not spare anybody at any time),” Roque said.
“Lalo na ang pagdating ng mga bagong variant gaya nung mas nakakahawa at mas nakakamatay na Indian variant (Especially now with the new variants like the more contagious and deadlier Indian variant),” he added.
The Palace official encouraged the public to not delay being vaccinated in order to fight the new and more contagious strains of the virus.
“Mas mahalagang magkaroon na po ng proteksyon. Now na. ‘Wag na natin itong ipagpabukas (It is more important to have protection immediately. Let us not put it off for tomorrow),” Roque said.
“Kung kayo ay tinext o tinawagan na pwede na kayong magpabakuna, ‘wag niyo po itong ipag-ibang araw (If you received a text or call informing you that you can be vaccinated, do not delay it),” he added.
Roque said it is everybody’s duty to be vaccinated to protect the country.
“Magpabakuna na po tayo. Tungkulin nating protektahan ang ating mga sarili, ang ating pamilya, at ang ating buong bansa (Let us be vaccinated. It is our duty to protect ourselves, our families, and the entire country),” he said.
On Thursday, May 20, Roque said President Duterte gave the non-disclosure order following the huge crowds that formed in vaccination sites after the announcement that the Pfizer vaccine would be given.