President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the vaccination of general population against COVID-19 starting October, Malacanang announced on Tuesday.
In his regular press briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said this is due to the large number of vaccine doses that have recently arrived and are expected to arrive in the coming weeks.
“Ang good news, inaprubahan na ni Presidente ang pagbabakuna ng general population simula po sa buwan ng Oktubre [The good news is that the President has approved the vaccination of general population starting October],” Roque said.
National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said over 61 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine will arive in September and October.
On September 6, all local government units have been ordered to vaccinate priority sectors A1 to A5. Those under the A1 priority category are workers in frontline health services, A2 are all senior citizens, A3 are persons with comorbidities, A4 are frontline personnel in essential sectors including uniformed personnel, and A5 are the indigent population.
On Monday night, Duterte threatened to use the police power of the state to compel people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“If it is not yet there in your place, ‘di pa dumating ang supply well perfectly understood. Pero ‘yung nandiyan na at ayaw ninyo o talagang may pinag-isipan,” Duterte said.
“You know, I do not want to advance this theory, but under the police power of the state, everybody can be compelled to vaccination,” he added.
As COVID-19 pandemic continues to infect Filipinos, Duterte said normalcy may return after two to three years.
But he said it might shorten if the country reached herd immunity.
“We would not be able to return to the old norm mga ano pa siguro two to three years. Pero ‘pag ang mga tao nandiyan ang bakuna, magpabakuna kaagad, maminimize yan,” Duterte said. –-KBK, GMA News