MANILA— Unvaccinated on-site employees will be required to undergo RT-PCR tests every 2 weeks at their expense, Presidential Adviser Joey Concepcion said Wednesday, as part of government's move to encourage those who haven't gotten their free COVID-19 jabs to get the shot.
The Inter-agency Task Force just released the memo on Wednesday. Specific guidelines will be released by the labor department in the coming weeks, Concepcion told ANC.
Workers who refuse to get vaccinated despite the available supply will have to shell out about P50,000 to P60,000 annually for the RT-PCR tests compared to the COVID-19 jabs that are for free, Concepcion said.
"So they should take the vaccines because the vaccines are free, hopefully, this puts more pressure on employees who are have not taken the vaccines," he said.
"Sec. [Silvestre] Bello will detail in the townhall next week," he said.
The measure is almost similar to mandatory vaccination for on-site workers since the RT-PCR tests will be shouldered by employees and not the company, he said.
"It’s a very serious effort on the part of the government to now mandate vaccines, especially for on-site workers. People can still not want to take the vaccine but they will have to take an RT-PCR test every 2 weeks which is very expensive at their expense," Concepcion said.
An aggressive vaccination drive is still the most effective way to shield the economy from COVID-19 and the new emerging Omicron variant, the official said.
So far, Concepcion said businesses are benefitting from the easing of restrictions to Alert Level 2 and moving to the more relaxed Alert Level 1 remains "unnecessary" as of the moment.
The Philippines aims to inoculate 70 percent of its population by the end of the year. So far, over 35.8 million have been vaccinated as of Nov. 29.