Getting vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) should be made mandatory to effectively contain the pandemic, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Wednesday, Dec. 1.
Lorenzana said the whole nation should unite in containing the virus especially since it is continuously evolving and mutating.
“Yes, it [vaccination] should be mandatory. Everyone should contribute to the health of the community,” he told reporters.
“Those unvaccinated are vulnerable of getting the virus and getting seriously sick. They not only burden the state by their hospitalization but will also spread the virus around,” he added.
However, the Defense Chief acknowledged that a law should be passed first before it is implemented.
“I don’t know if PRRD [President Duterte] will issue an executive order. But [Department of the Interior and Local Government] Secretary [Eduardo] Ano said local government units can make their own ordinances. That’s the best solution now,” Lorenzana noted.
For now, he proposed the additional restrictions on the movement of unvaccinated individuals so they would not catch the virus and spread it to others.
“We can impose restrictions to unvaccinated people like [disallowing them] from entering public places (malls, restaurants, and stadiums) unless they have an RT-PCR [test] taken not more than 72 hours,” Lorenzana said.
“[Unvaccinated] workers will also have their RT-PCR every week at their expense to be able to go to work. [They also are] not allowed to travel,” he continued.
He cited Narvacan, Ilocos Sur Mayor Luis “Chavit” Singson who barred unvaccinated residents from the barangays to come to the town proper except to have themselves vaccinated.
Calls to make vaccination mandatory were mounting after a new variant of the coronavirus, Omicron, was discovered in South Africa. It has been classified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO), and is feared to be more contagious than the Delta variant.
However, the society is divided whether or not to make vaccination as mandatory.
While there are certain sectors which approve of mandating vaccination, WHO country representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said the international medical body believes otherwise since people should be given the liberty to choose what’s best for their own bodies.