The Philippine government’s coronavirus task force has required the COVID-19 vaccination of employees doing on-site work, both public and private, in areas where there are enough supplies of COVID-19 vaccines.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the announcement on Friday, November 12, in a taped video. He said that the new measure will take effect on December 1.
“However, eligible employees who remain to be unvaccinated may not be terminated but they shall be required to undergo regular RT-PCR testing, or antigen tests, at their own expense,” Roque said.
Employees who are to be vaccinated during work hours should not be considered absent upon sufficient proof of a confirmed vaccination schedule, Roque added.
“Accordingly, only the presentation of a medical clearance issued by a government health office, or birth certificate, as the case may be, shall serve as sufficient and valid proof of ineligibility for vaccination,”Roque said.
The presidential spokesperson said all government agencies are enjoined to “implement measures prioritizing fully vaccinated individuals availing of government programs and services.”
This development comes as the government is ramping up its vaccination coverage as it also eyes mandatory inoculation of the Philippine population.
As of November 10, around 32.97% of the country’s population have received the first of two doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Meanwhile, those who have taken both jabs as well as single-dose vaccines represent around 27.66% of the population.
President Rodrigo Duterte on September 27 said he was considering making vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory, adding that the government could “compel” those who did not want to get vaccinated to receive a shot.
The health department had said that it was open to the idea of mandatory vaccination for specific high-risk sectors as the government seeks to cover at least 90% of the country’s population, but said it would be treated as a “last resort.”
Meanwhile several countries like the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Indonesia, and Russia, among others, have turned to vaccine mandates to increase coverage rates. In the Philippines, vaccination against COVID-19 is not mandatory for now. – Rappler.com