Duterte: Vaccinate the willing; limit anti-vaxxers’ movement

Published July 29, 2021, 4:45 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Believing that vaccination remains the best solution to quell the virus spread, President Duterte is amenable to opening the government’s vaccination to anyone willing to get inoculated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

President Rodrigo Duterte shows vials of AstraZeneca vaccines donated by Japan to the Philippines during the turnover held in Villamor Air Base, Pasay City on July 8, 2021. (Malacañang)

In a televised address Wednesday, July 28, the President said the vaccines should be given to the willing if the people belonging to the prioritized sectors still refuse to be inoculated.

At present, the government has prioritized the vaccination of the country’s health workers, senior citizens, those with comorbidity, and essential workers. Some local government units have also started vaccinating those belonging to the poor population.

“Kayong nabakunahan na, okay. Ang problema marami pang hindi (Those vaccinated, you’re okay. The problem is many are still hesitant),” Duterte said during a meeting with top government officials on pandemic response.

“Ngayon, itong ayaw magpabakuna, ibigay na lang kaagad doon sa A3. Doon na sa — doon na sa public kung sinong gusto. Eh ‘yung ayaw magpabakuna sa listahan wala, eh di ayaw nila. Ibigay natin sa iba para makatulong (Now those who refused to be vaccinated, give the vaccines to those in A3, to the public who wants to get vaccinated. If people on the list refuse to be vaccinated, then don’t. Let’s give the vaccines to others so we can help them),” he added.

The President made the remarks before ordering the police and local village officials to prevent people reluctant to get vaccinated from leaving their houses.

According to the President, the anti-vaxxers or those hesitant to receive the vaccines would “be escorted back to your house because you are a walking spreader.”

“Trabaho talaga ng barangay captains iyan eh (It’s the job of the barangay captains) to go around to see who are vaccinated and who are not, and to give the appropriate warning that they should not be going around because they are throwing viruses left and right,” he said.

Duterte likewise proposed crafting a legislation restricting the movement of unvaccinated persons for the health and safety of those already vaccinated.

“We have to come up with a law punishing a guy, a person, who has not been vaccinated and going around,” he said.

“We do not have a law, a punitive action that can be taken against the person who does not have the vaccine and go around, making it dangerous for the others to acquire the virus,” he added.

Of the 31 million doses of coronavirus vaccines in the country, the government has administered more than 18 million doses so far. More than 7 million persons have completed their vaccination since the inoculation program started last March.

A day after the President’s remarks on the vaccination of the willing, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said there has already been “partial compliance” to Duterte’s directive.

He said the vaccination of the essential workers belonging to the A4 category has already started following the inoculation of health workers, seniors and people with comorbidity.

Despite the ongoing vaccination of the workers, he noted that those belonging to the vulnerable population could still get inoculated through the special lanes in their local government units.

“Hindi po malayo na talagang io-open na natin iyan for all ‘no, pero hindi pa po sa ngayon dahil mayroon pa tayong obligasyon po, lalo na doon sa mga donated na mga bakuna natin, na ipa-prioritize pa rin natin ang A1, A2 at A3 (It won’t be long when we open the vaccination for all but not for now because we have an obligation especially with the donated vaccines to prioritize A1, A2 and A3 sectors),” he said.

While the vaccination of health frontliners is 90 percent complete, Roque said there was still low vaccination rate among the senior population. He urged anew the country’s elderly to get vaccinated as soon as possible since they are vulnerable to the Delta coronavirus variant.