Yesterday, April 26, 2021, a House bill was filed with the intention to push the mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, and this is amid the massive vaccine hesitancy in the country.
Cavite 4th District Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. filed House Bill No. 9252 or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, which mandates “science and evidence-based” inoculations for people “as may be determined” by the Department of Health (DOH).
Rep. Barzaga Jr. gave his statement that “the State is mandated to make rules and regulations to protect the lives of the majority of its citizens.”
Exemptions will exclusively cover individuals who have medical conditions or are acknowledged safer without the shot.
Why could have driven Rep. Barzaga Jr. to file the bill? It appears that 61% of the Filipino respondents who took the pollster Pulse Asia said “no” to the vaccine.
Most Filipinos who have read of the proposed House bill expressed their disapproval and opposed the possible mandate.
Maria Rosario Vergeire, DOH’s Health Undersecretary, states that according to the experts’ recommendations, stakeholders have the right to choose if they want to get the vaccine or not.
The concept of making inoculation mandatory was already raised back in March before the COVID-19 immunization campaign started. However, it did not prosper as the World Health Organization and the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization to retaining it as “purely voluntary.”
“We adhere to the principle that the benefits outweigh the risks, and that’s why we are offering it to the population. But it will be their right to decide if they will receive this or not, based on how we explain this (COVID-19 vaccination) to them.”