MANILA - An employers' group sees no need to make COVID-19 vaccination a requirement for workers in the Philippines, noting an increase in vaccine confidence among employees.
“We don’t have to make it compulsory,” Employers Confederation of the Philippines president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said in a virtual summit Friday.
“Even our employees in the private sector … more than 50 percent, they come to us and say, 'When can we be scheduled?'”
Implementing a “no vaccine, no work policy” may have legal issues, Ortiz-Luis added.
“It will be legally questioned. I’m not even sure whether it is unconstitutional to do that,” he said.
The Food and Drug Administration earlier said making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory is "a very difficult proposition" due to possible violations of individual rights.
Meanwhile, Ortiz-Luis and a doctor endorsed the use of ivermectin against COVID-19 during the summit, a day after a group of lawmakers started to distribute it.
The Department of Health and the FDA have warned against the use of the animal anti-parasitic drug for COVID-19 treatment due to insufficient scientific evidence.
But Dr. Allan Landrito, one of the country's leading advocates for the use of the veterinary drug against COVID-19, claimed it "really does work."
“If we give Ivermectin to people, regular basis, every two weeks, they don’t get COVID. They are really protected… While waiting for the vaccine, it can be a bridge,” Landrito said.
“There are so many publications, there are so many countries, which accepted it. Allow them to use it because if it can save some lives, it shoud be able to save some lives,” Ortiz-Luis Jr. added.
But DOH maintained its stance on Ivermectin.
“We try as much as possible in the Department of Health to recommend only evidence-based interventions. Looking not just in single or two types of studies but in the totality of the evidence… As a national authority in charge of making sure that the technical standards are there for your protection, then that’s what we will be providing you,” said Dr. Beverly Ho, director for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Control Bureau at the DOH.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III warned that doctors who have issued token prescriptions for anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin should be made accountable for any adverse effect.
While doctors can prescribe it for human use against the COVID-19 infection, Duque stressed they have to follow the protocol for which the compassionate permit was issued. Taking the drug with prescriptions that lacked details as prescribed by law is another story, he clarified.
“Ang ating batas malinaw [The law is clear]. All prescriptions must contain the name of the presciber, office address, professional registration number…dapat sundin ito. Hindi pwedeng token prescription lang,” Duque told ABS-CBN News Channel.