This website requires JavaScript.

Palace: Duterte Joking When He Proposed To Jab Anti-Vaxxers While Sleeping; Says No Need For Law On Mandatory Vaccination

Palace: Duterte Joking When He Proposed To Jab Anti-Vaxxers While Sleeping; Says No Need For Law On Mandatory Vaccination
A woman receives her first dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-through vaccination center at Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Aug. 7, 2021. Photo by KJ Rosales, The Philippine STAR

President Duterte was just joking when he proposed the injection of COVID-19 jabs on persons who are hesitant to get vaccinated while they are sleeping, Malacañang clarified on Thursday, Oct. 14.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the President needed to crack jokes so his officials won't doze off during the meetings of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

"Of course, our meetings during the talk to the people are long and you can only see an excerpt of it but the meetings are long," Roque said at a press briefing. "So we won't doze off, we need a few jokes," he added.

Last Monday, Oct. 11, Duterte expressed confidence that major cities would meet their inoculation targets but admitted that vaccine hesitation remains a problem. He then floated the idea of vaccinating those who do not want to get inoculated while they are asleep.

"Iyan ang problema ‘yung ayaw, ayaw magpabakunaKaya hanapin ninyo ‘yan sa barangay ninyo. Akyatin natin ‘pag tulog at turukin natin habang natutulog para makumpleto ‘yung istorya (That's the problem, those who do not want to get vaccinated. Look for them in your barangay. Let's go to their places and while they are sleeping, inject the vaccine on them so the story can be completed)," Duterte said during a public address.

"Eh kung ayaw, eh ‘di akyatin sa bahay eh, tusukin natin sa gabi (If they do not want it, let's go to their house, vaccinate them at night)...I will lead the journey," he added.

But a person cannot be vaccinated until he is given sufficient information about the jab and he agrees to accept it, according to authorities.

Law not needed

Malacañang also does not see the need for a law on mandatory vaccination for now as many people are still willing to get inoculated against COVID-19.

Roque said the country’s supply of pandemic jabs has to be administered first before the government thinks about passing a law making vaccination a requirement.

“That’s for Congress to enact if Congress wishes so. But right now, because the supplies have just arrived, let’s see. Because I think the level of individuals who want to be vaccinated is al-ready very high so maybe we don’t need it for now,” Roque said.

“What we are saying is we have the supply (of vaccines) that can protect ourselves and our loved ones,” the Palace spokesman added.

As of Oct. 13, about 23.77 million people or 30.81% of the country’s eligible population have been fully vaccinated. About 27.2 million or 35.28 % of the eligible population have received their first dose. A total of 50.97 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country.

For his part, World Health Organization (WHO) country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe said they support giving a third vaccine dose to immune compromised persons.

1 million Sinovac jabs

Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said on Thursday that China will be donating one million doses of Sinovac vaccines to the Philippines, with the delivery expected to arrive in Manila next week.

“I am glad to inform that the Chinese government has decided to donate another one million doses of Sinovac (vaccine). I hope that the vaccines will further facilitate the ongoing vaccina-tion rollout and promote early economic and social recovery in the Philippines,” Huang said.

Meanwhile, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology said that based on efficacy analysis, the one-shot Sputnik Light vaccine is 70% effective against Delta variant three months after inoculation. For subjects under the age of 60, the jab is 75% effective.

When used as a booster shot, the efficacy of Sputnik Light is close to that of the Sputnik V vaccine – over 83% against infection and over 94% against hospitalization.  – Wiith Pia Lee-Brago