July 13, 2022
MANILA, Philippines — Making COVID-19 booster shots mandatory is not yet necessary, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a briefing with reporters on Tuesday.
“First of all, there’s no law to support and to say that the vaccines should be mandatory for everybody. So it really has to be studied thoroughly if the way to go is to have a law that makes it mandatory,” Vergeire said, speaking in a mix of Filipino and English.
“But as I’ve said, as of now, at this point in time, we don’t see that it is needed. As I’ve said, in the past we were able to improve and increase our vaccination efforts by implementing different nudges, which we have been doing,” she added.
As an example, Vergeire the time when the government implemented an incentive and disincentive scheme that successfully encouraged Filipinos to get their primary vaccine series against COVID-19.
The government then used to allow only fully-vaccinated individuals in public. It also required unvaccinated employees to get COVID-19 testing first before being allowed into their place of work.
“So hopefully we can do this again in the coming weeks so we can add to the strategies that we have been employing so that we can improve on our booster uptake,” Vergeire said.
According to the Department of Health, as of Monday, the total number of fully-vaccinated individuals was 71,055,752. Of these, only 15,342,652 individuals have had booster shots.