December 1, 2023

President Rodrigo Duterte enjoined the public to “take advantage” of the country’s sufficient supply of vaccines against the Covid-19 and get their booster shots to control the spread of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.

“Take advantage now. The boosters would make your immune system stronger,” Duterte said.

He said his insistence to push for the vaccination of Filipinos was a “good move” despite criticisms from some sectors.

Duterte said those who continue to refuse inoculation could stay indoors so as not to put others’ health at risk.

“If you do not want to be vaccinated, we can always courteously ask you to go. Do not go out of the house so that you will not be putting in jeopardy the rest of your neighborhood and everybody else. If you are going to an office and you don’t want to be inoculated, you might contaminate the whole of the office,” he added.

He added the government could use its police power to compel citizens to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Currently, Covid-19 vaccination remains voluntary until a law is passed making it mandatory.

National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief implementer, Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr. cited the importance of “massively” administering booster doses as the Omicron variant entered the country.

Galvez said the NTF recommends massive booster vaccination within the National Capital Region.

Galvez cited that most countries are now scaling up their booster vaccination.

“We should not break the chain of protection. We should already have the boosters,” he added.

The government wants to ramp up the provision of primary doses to the remaining 40 million unvaccinated Filipinos.

The Department of Health earlier announced the shorter administration interval between primary doses and booster shots.

The new policy states that booster doses may already be given to adults at least three months after receiving their second dose, and at least two months after the primary single-dose vaccine is given.

 As of Dec. 22, a total 45,284,617 Filipinos have been fully vaccinated while 1,194,321 more have received their booster shots. PNA