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Lorenzana backs mandatory vaccination



Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday expressed support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s wish to make vaccinations against COVID-19 mandatory.

“It should be mandatory. Everyone should contribute to the health of the community,” Lorenzana, who also chairs the National Task Force Against COVID-19, told reporters.

“Those who are unvaccinated are vulnerable to getting the virus and getting seriously sick. They not only burden the state by their hospitalization but will also spread the virus around,” he added.

Lorenzana admitted that making vaccinations mandatory would be hard without a law, but said restrictions can still be imposed on unvaccinated people.

Restrictions may include disallowing unvaccinated people from entering public places like malls, restaurants, and stadiums unless they get negative results from reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests taken not more than 72 hours, he said.

Unvaccinated “workers would also have to undergo an RT-PCR every week at their expense to be able to go to work,” Lorenzana said.

Generally, unvaccinated people should not be allowed to travel, he added.

On Tuesday, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said local government units have the authority to impose travel restrictions, as ordinances, under times of calamity and a pandemic.

“That would be the best solution now,” Lorenzana said.