‘Back to the end of the line’ for priority listers who refuse available COVID-19 vaccines

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Malacañang said Tuesday that senior citizens and people with health risks who refuse to be inoculated with available COVID-19 vaccines will be moved back to the end of the line and lose their priority status in the vaccination drive.

Only healthcare workers, the number one in vaccination priority, were allowed leeway to chose the vaccines they prefer, said Palace spokesperson Harry Roque. 

He said that the government will not force the next top priority clusters –the elderly and those with comorbidities– to use the currently available COVID-19 jabs.

“Pero matatapos na po iyong kaniyang prayoridad. Kumbaga, back to the end of the line. That’s only fair,” Roque said.

A survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations showed that 63 percent of Filipinos prefer the United States as the source of COVID-19 vaccines. 

“Naiintindihan naman po natin ‘yan. Talaga namang sa ating kasaysayan, ang mga Pilipino ay mas humahanga sa mga stateside,” he said.

However, he emphasized that the current supply of USA-made shots remain insufficient, while more infectious COVID-19 variants are spreading. 

“Bagama’t mayroon tayong preference sa stateside, unahin na po muna natin ang ating mga buhay, ang buhay ng ating pamilya, ng ating komunidad. Magpabakuna na po kung ano available,” he added. 

Sinovac shots account for the majority of the Philippines’ 8.279 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, at least 4.3 million of which has been administered as of May 24. 

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