Vaccine czar Galvez says 'in favor' of mandatory vaccination

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 04 2021 10:39 AM | Updated as of Nov 04 2021 04:06 PM

MANILA - The official leading the country's inoculation program against COVID-19 said Thursday he was in favor of making vaccinations against the virus mandatory.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr said a small portion of the population left unvaccinated could threaten those fully immunized.

"Yes, I'm in favor of that because ang higher interest natin, we are in a pandemic. Ang sabi ng [World Health Organization] we are not safe if everyone is not safe... kung lahat tayo vaccinated dun lang tayo magkakaroon ng complete safety and protection," he told ANC's Headstart when asked if he supports mandatory vaccination.

(Yes, I'm in favor of that because it is our higher interest as we are in a pandemic. The WHO said we are not safe if everyone is not safe. We will have complete safety and protection when we are all vaccinated.)

"We need to inoculate or maybe mandate vaccination kasi talagang (because) we are at risk if we will not vaccinate everybody. If we will have a sizable amount of 20 million roaming around, those antivaxxers roaming around it will even threaten those vaccinated."

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, however, said that mandatory vaccinations may be "violative of some persons' human rights." 

"While we disagree with mandatory vaccination, there should be adequate and massive health and medical education, as well as an information drive, so the public may understand the need for vaccines," he said in a statement released Thursday. 

"Ang problema, solusyong militarista at trabahong palpak ang ginawa ng administrasyong Duterte. Pagkatapos, saka pipiltin at tatakutin ang mga tao, sa halip na kumbinsihin sa pamamagitan ng maayos at masinsinang pagpapaliwanag," he added.

(The problem is the Duterte administration imposed military solutions and failed in its job of controlling the pandemic. And now they apparently plan to force and scare people into getting vaccinated, instead of convincing them properly with a good explanation.)

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga in April filed House Bill No. 9252, which seeks to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory.

It has been pending at the House Committee on Health since May 17, 2021.

The Philippines has fully vaccinated 27.7 million individuals, while 32.7 million have received an initial dose as of Tuesday, according to government data.

It is considering a 3-day nationwide vaccination drive that aims to inoculate 5 million people, Galvez said.

Government is also planning to begin administering third doses and booster shots to priority sectors beginning Nov. 15, he earlier said.

The Philippines on Wednesday began the vaccination of all children aged 12 to 17, regardless of their health status. It is planning to expand its pediatric vaccinations to include those below 12 years old next year.

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— with reports from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News