Vaccine expert: Mandatory vaccination can help in rollout but legal issues must be addressed

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 19) – One of the country's leading vaccine experts thinks implementing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination would help in the rollout but may face legal obstacles as he believes inoculation remains a personal option.

"I don't think we can really implement that. We need to know the legality of mandatory vaccination because I still feel that vaccination is an option for everyone or anyone who can get it," Dr. Rontgene Solante, a member of the government’s vaccine expert panel, told CNN Philippines' Newsroom Weekend on Sunday.

Solante added that a mandatory COVID-19 immunization for all Filipinos can help improve vaccine rollout at the local level, but the national government should ensure a stable vaccine supply in the country first before implementing such a rule.

Last Sept. 16, the Davao City government issued an executive order requiring all its personnel to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. 

Asked about the legal implications of such an order, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said it warrants further study.

"This is a very delicate matter that needs a lot of study and there's a proper procedure for obtaining a formal [Department of Justice] opinion," he told CNN Philippines in a message.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health cited Republic Act 11525, which states that vaccine cards shall not be considered an additional requirement for employment.

"While vaccination is not mandatory, we call on all eligible population to register in their respective LGUs and avail of COVID-19 vaccines for free, for additional protection," the DOH said.