Vaccination of Economic Frontliners under A4 Priority Group at Mandaluyong City Medical Center Mega Vaccination Site

The Mandaluyong City Medical Center Mega Vaccination Site. Photo taken on Monday, June 7, 2021. (File photo by NIÑO JESUS ORBETA / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — People who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 may be arrested, President Rodrigo Duterte warned during his taped weekly Monday night briefing.

“They are hard-headed.  Don’t get me wrong. There is a crisis being faced in this country. There is a national emergency. If you don’t want to get vaccinated, I will have you arrested. And I will inject the vaccine in your butt. [CURSES]. You are pests. We are already suffering and you’re adding to the burden,” Duterte said, speaking partly in Filipino.

“So all you Filipinos listening, watch out. Don’t force my hand into it…  I have a strong arm for that. Nobody likes it. But if you won’t get vaccinated, leave the Philippines. Go to India or somewhere — to America.  But as long as you are here and you are a human being that can carry the virus, get yourself vaccinated,” he added.

The President also threatened to ask the Department of the Interior and Local government to order barangay officials to list people who would refuse to get vaccinated. In jest, he added that he would have them injected ivermectin — the controversial anti-parasitic drug that some doctors claim could cure COVID-19.

“These are the stupid people who don’t like to be vaccinated. And they are really the carriers, you know. They can travel from one place to another and carrying the virus and contaminating other people. You people who don’t like to get vaccinated, I’ll have injected with a vaccine for pigs— this ivermectin. That will really kill [the virus], including you,” he said.

The government is banking on achieving herd immunity through COVID-19 vaccination so that the economy could be restarted and the country could regain normalcy.

But not all Filipinos have confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines.

Last November 2020, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that only 66 percent were willing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The percentage went down in a more recent SWS survey with only 32 percent of respondents saying they would be willing to be vaccinated.

Other surveys also showed similar numbers, with most respondents being concerned about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

As of Monday, only over seven million vaccine doses had been administered, according to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF). Of that number, only 1.9 million have been fully vaccinated — that is, those who had received two doses.

[atm]

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