COVID-19 vaccination 'should be mandatory,' says task force chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 01 2021 02:40 PM

 Quezon City residents receive their COVID-19 vaccine dose at the Batasan Hills National High School on November 29, 2021, the start of the
Quezon City residents receive their COVID-19 vaccine dose at the Batasan Hills National High School on November 29, 2021, the start of the "National COVID-19 Vaccination Days." The 3-day vaccination drive aims to vaccinate 9 million people, focusing on first doses and booster shots. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News


MANILA— Vaccination against coronavirus should be made mandatory, the chairman of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 said Wednesday as the country wrapped up its 3-day inoculation drive.

Disincentives could encourage the public to get immunized, said NTF chairman and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

"Yes, it should be mandatory. Everyone should contribute to the health of the community. 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 said.

"Mahirap kung walang batas (It's hard without a law). However, we can impose restrictions to unvaccinated people."

Lorenzana said unvaccinated individuals could be barred from public places "unless they have an RT-PCR [test] taken not more than 72 hours," while workers must undergo a confirmatory swab test "every week at their expense to be able to go to work."

Local governments can also pass ordinances to require vaccination, he added.

"I don’t know if PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) will issue an EO. But (Interior) Secretary (Eduardo) Año said the LGUs can make their own ordinances. That would be the best solution now," he said.

The Philippines has so far fully vaccinated 35.9 million against COVID-19, while 46.3 million have received an initial dose and 233,949 have received a third dose or a booster shot as of Tuesday, according to data gathered by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.

It has so far immunized 5 million more during the National Vaccination Days from Monday to Wednesday. Another 3-day vaccination event is eyed to be held from Dec. 15 to 17.

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