PNP chief: Cops may avail of coronavirus jabs from LGU vaccination centers
A healthcare worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine to an Israeli woman at Clalit Health Services, in the coastal city of Tel Aviv, on January 3, 2021.
AFP/Jack Guez

PNP chief: Cops may avail of coronavirus jabs from LGU vaccination centers

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - June 7, 2021 - 11:19am

MANILA, Philippines — Personnel of the Philippine National Police can now avail of the coronavirus vaccines offered by the local governments they are deployed in. 

This comes as vaccination of the A4 priority group, which consists of frontline workers and uniformed personnel, is set to begin. 

In a statement, Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP chief, disclosed that Interior Secretary Eduardo Año greenlit the "temporary arrangement" allowing cops to get vaccinated in the localities of their assignments. 

Eleazar said the PNP would not force vaccination on nor penalize policemen who are not willing to get COVID-19 shots.

“I assure you that there will be no coercion but we will expect our police to be more serious in helping the success of the national vaccination program by showing our countrymen the importance of vaccination against COVID,” the PNP Chief assured.

"They can serve as an example that there is nothing to fear from vaccination."

Warnings against vaccine-jumping?

Eleazar said that in the previous months, he has been warning police officers against jumping the inoculation priority line. 

“We prohibited our cops from getting vaccinated if you aren't part of A1, A2 or A3. We're confident that all of us will receive a vaccine so we shouldn't be in a hurry," the PNP chief said in Filipino. 

To recall, members of the Presidential Security Group, which includes PNP officers, were among the first recipients of "VIP vaccines" after they smuggled illegal vaccines into the country and used them without FDA approval.

The Palace has since cleared them of it, even going so far as glorifying the move as something they did to protect President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Then-PNP chief Debold Sinas was quick to say that no PNP personnel had been vaccinated.

He did not comment on the cops in the PSG. 

Vaccine hesitancy in the PNP

Eleazar encouraged cops to avail of the jabs with vaccines allocated for the police force set to be made available in the coming weeks. 

He also disclosed that 87.7% of police officers are willing to get anti-COVID-19 shots, per a PNP-wide survey, up from 51% in February. 

“Every day, we monitored some of our personnel who initially declined being vaccinated changing their mind. And we attribute this to our aggressive information drive,” he said in an earlier statement. 

Once the PNP receives its allocated doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Eleazar said he would be the first one to get vaccinated to encourage the remaining 12% of the police force to get inoculated.

He added that senior police officials should also lead by example and inspire their men to get protection against the virus.

Around 15,700 out of the 220,000-strong police force who belonged to the A1, A2, and A3 priority groups are already vaccinated. 

To date, 1.27 million cases of the coronavirus have been recorded in the Philippines, 59,337 of whom are still classified as active cases. 

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