MANILA - Local governments can pass ordinances mandating COVID-19 vaccination but there are other ways to persuade the public, the Department of Health said Tuesday.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque made the remark after Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr proposed to delay the release of subsidy for unvaccinated beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said, however, that non-vaccination cannot be a ground to withhold the benefits of people listed in the program.
The DOH earlier said mandatory vaccination was a "last resort" to achieve herd immunity against the respiratory illness.
"Ang mga LGUs (local government units), meron na po silang kapangyarihan sa ilalim ng Local Government Autonomy Act of 1992. Pwede sila magpasa ng kani-kanilang ordinansa kung tingin nila ang polisiya ng mandatory vaccination ay katanggap-tanggap sa kanilang constituents," he said during an online press briefing.
(LGUs have the power under the Local Government Autonomy Act of 1992. They can pass their own ordinances if they think mandatory vaccination is acceptable to their constituents.)
"Kahit magpasa ng ordinansa ang mga pamahalaang lokal, meron pa ring ibang paraan para makumbinsi natin ang mga ayaw magpabakuna."
(Even if they pass ordinances, there are other ways to convince those who don't want to get vaccinated.)
The agency continues its information campaign "Resbakuna" on TV and radio and other forms of persuasion, Duque said.
"Patuloy yan para mahikayat ang mga kababayan natin magpabakuna," he said.
(It's continuous to encourage others to get vaccinated.)
"Maganda ang magpabakuna, may taglay na proteksyon pero wag natin kakalimutan ang face mask, face shield in the 3Cs context (closed spaces, crowded areas, and close contact setting)."
Duque also said that the technical working group might make an official recommendation on the use of face shields on Thursday.