DOH welcomes incentive programs to boost COVID-19 vaccination

Published May 28, 2021, 2:39 PM

by Analou de Vera

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire

The Department of Health (DOH) welcomed the initiative of some local government units (LGUs) to implement incentive programs to encourage their constituents to get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that providing incentives is part of that strategic way of persuading people.

“We don’t see anything wrong with that,” said Vergeire in an online forum.

“Kasama yan sa tinatawag natin na (That’s part of what we call) persuasion strategy where you give incentives so that people can be encouraged to comply,” she added.

Vergeire said that people still have the right to decide if they will receive the vaccine or not.

“We cannot force people to get vaccinated. Ayon na rin sa ating mga eksperto at sa (According to our experts and the) WHO [World Health Organization], it is ethically non-justifiable. Ibig sabihin (Meaning), we cannot force people (or) by instituting mandatory policy,” she said.

Vergeire said that the DOH is also eyeing to come up with an incentive program to encourage more people to receive the COVID-19 jab.

“Pag nagsabi tayo ng incentives hindi lang yung mga material na insentibo—tulad ng nagbibigay tayo ng pagkain o kaya ay nagbibigay tayo ng papremyo para mahikayat ang pagbabakuna (When we say incentives it’s not just the material ones — like we provide food or we give prizes to encourage vaccination),” she said.

“Meron pa din ibang klaseng incentives na naiisp ang gobyerno. Magpapalabas tayo ng guidelines at information kapag nabuo na natin ang konsepto (There are other types of incentives that the government can think of. We will release the guidelines and information once we have crafted the concept),” she added.

In Las Pinas City, an incentive program will be launched to entice more people to get vaccinated. Some of the rewards include groceries, motorcycles, and a brand new house and lot, said House of Representatives Deputy Speaker and Las Piñas Rep. Camille Villar.

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora is also eyeing to launch an incentive program next week for his constituents.