Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to detain people who refuse a corona shot in a speech on live television.
“The choice is yours: vaccinate or I will have you locked up,” he said after a disappointing turnout at vaccination centres in the country.
The Philippines is one of the hardest-hit countries in Southeast Asia. The total number of infections now stands at more than 1.3 million; there were more than 23,000 corona-related deaths.
Despite President Duterte’s firm language, a corona jab is not mandatory in a country with more than a hundred million inhabitants.
Health officials previously emphasized that this is a voluntary move. “Don’t get me wrong, there is a crisis in this country,” Duterte said. “I’m just angry that Filipinos have not responded to the government’s call.”
So far, just over two million people have been vaccinated. That amounts to only a few per cent of the total population, while the expected ‘herd immunity’ is achieved with vaccination coverage of between 70 and 90 per cent.
All vaccines are approved and authorized in the Philippines: from Pfizer and Moderna to the Russian Sputnik V and the Chinese vaccines from Sinovac and Sinopharm.
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