Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to send to jail those who refuse to inoculate themselves with the COVID-19 vaccine, while the country still struggles to contain its worst outbreak.
“If he does not want to be vaccinated, I will have him arrested and then I will apply the vaccine to his buttocks,” said Duterte, famous for his bad manners, this Monday night during a speech broadcast on television.
“You decide, take the dose or I will put you in prison,” the president threatened, according to Rappler news portal.
Although vaccination is voluntary in the Philippines, the president has indicated that he will seek legal means within the current emergency law to find a way to force the population to receive the dose of the drug.
The president’s warning, who insisted that he will act “within the law,” comes as a result of the low vaccination records in the Philippine archipelago, where 1.36 million cases have been registered since the beginning of the pandemic, including more 23,600 dead.
Many Filipinos are reluctant to get vaccinated after the controversy that sparked in 2016 with a dengue vaccine promoted by the government among children and later found to increase the risk of severe symptoms in patients who had not suffered the disease in last.
To date, the country has only managed to vaccinate 2.1 million people with the full dose, out of the nearly 110 million inhabitants of the nation. The authorities’ goal is to vaccinate 70 million people before the end of the year.