Hesitant to get a COVID-19 vaccine? You might just get vaccinated in your sleep and a visit from President Rodrigo Duterte.
The 76-year-old chief executive said Monday he would "lead the journey" to visit the homes of Filipinos who refuse to get immunized as he urged the public to get jabbed to halt the spread of the virus.
"'Yan ang problema yung ayaw magpabakuna kaya hanapin ninyo 'yan sa barangay ninyo, akyatin natin pagtulog at turukin natin habang natutulog para makumpleto yung istorya," Duterte said in his late night public address.
"Kung ayaw ‘di akyatin sa bahay. Tusukin natin sa gabi. Ako ang mag-ano. I will lead the journey," he said. The President's aides have in the past clarified his statements as hyperbole.
While COVID-19 vaccines are not mandatory in the Philippines, health authorities urge the public to get inoculated for protection against the virus and the many variants that develop due to the slow pace of immunizations.
The slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has been blamed for the surge in COVID-19 cases in April and August which authorities said were driven mainly by coronavirus variants.
It was only this month that the government opened COVID-19 vaccination slots to the general public. From the start of the immunization program in March until September, vaccines were available only for health workers, senior citizens, persons with comorbidities, the working population, and the poor.
Duterte urged Filipinos who have yet to get vaccinated to get their shots once these are made available to them.
"Yan lang talaga ang pampawala ng sakit ng ulo sa bayan natin--magpabakuna," he said.
The government is eyeing to fully inoculate 90% of its population before the 2022 elections. So far, some 23 million individuals in the country have completed their shots.