In a recent address to the media, Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte made serious remarks and even threatened people that he might arrest people resisting taking a COVID-19 vaccine.
His remarks come amid a spike in COVID-19 cases due to the second wave and an apparent vaccine hesitancy among the Philippines’ population. Reports said that only 2 per cent of the entire population is vaccinated for at least one dose.
“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’ll have you arrested and I’ll inject the vaccine in your butt,” Duterte had said.
He went on to say: “If you will not agree to be vaccinated, leave the Philippines. Go to India if you want or somewhere, to America.”
Justice secretary Menardo Guevarra clarified the President’s comment later. “That there was no Philippine law criminalising refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19.”
He further added, “I believe that the President merely used strong words to drive home the need for us to get vaccinated and reach herd immunity as soon as possible.”
However, several government officials have pointed out that inadequate vaccine supply is a bigger problem than vaccine hesitancy.