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Nation

‘Mandatory COVID-19 jabs for workers illegal’

Shiela Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday rejected the move of the Davao City government to require all its employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, saying it is against the law.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told a press briefing yesterday that the policy violates Republic Act 11525 or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act.

“Vaccine cards shall not be considered an additional requirement for employment purposes. It is clear under the law that vaccination is not mandatory,” Vergeire said.

She said it is illogical to require the vaccination of employees when there are not enough vaccines for everyone.

“Our supplies are still insufficient. Many want to get vaccinated but are not yet among those prioritized,” Vergeire said.

While vaccination is not mandatory, the DOH said all those eligible to get the vaccine should register and have themselves inoculated for their protection.

In an executive order (EO) issued on Wednesday, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said all city government employees, including contractuals and volunteers, should be fully vaccinated before Nov. 30.

“The unreasonable refusal of some personnel to get vaccinated should not be allowed to bring to naught the cooperation of the majority, their effort to achieve herd immunity and their right to a healthy disease-free environment,” Carpio said.

The EO was issued amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in the city, with 9,056 active infections as of Wednesday.

“The increasing cases and challenges to mitigate its spread has been compounded by the presence of COVID-19 variants that have made the virus more transmissible,” the EO read.

City government workers who fail to get their COVID jabs during their assigned schedule will have to submit a written explanation to their human resource management office.

Those who refuse to be vaccinated will be held liable for insubordination. They face suspension of up to six months for the first offense and dismissal for the second offense.

The EO noted that 12,000 of the 20,000 city government employees have been vaccinated against COVID.

As of Wednesday, 672,305 Davao City  residents have received their first dose while
421,852 have been fully vaccinated.

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