Philippines’ Duterte threatens Covid-19 vaccine refusers with jail

Bangkok, Jun 22 (EFE).- The president of the Philippines threatened to arrest those refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine at a time when the country is battling one of its worst coronavirus outbreaks.

“If you don’t want to get vaccinated, I’ll have you arrested then I’ll inject a vaccine into your buttocks,” Rodrigo Duterte, known for his coarse manner and foul language, said on Monday night during a televised address.

“Get vaccinated or I’ll jail you in a cell,” he said, according to news website Rappler.

Although vaccination is voluntary in the Philippines, the president said that he will seek legal means under the state of emergency in effect in the country to find a way to force the population to receive the vaccine.

The warning by the president, who insisted that he will act within the law, comes amid low turnouts at vaccination sites in the Philippines, which has recorded 1.36 million cases since the start of the pandemic, including more 23,600 deaths.

Many Filipinos are reluctant to get vaccinated after a controversy in 2016 sparked by a dengue vaccine promoted by the government among children and that was later found to increase the risk of severe symptoms in patients who had not had the disease in the past.

So far, the country has managed to fully vaccinate only 2.1 million people with the Covid-19 vaacine, out of the nation’s nearly 110 million inhabitants.

The authorities’ goal is to vaccinate 70 million people before the end of the year. EFE


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