DOH: People have ‘autonomy’ to choose on immunization

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MANILA – A health spokesperson confirmed that the public has “autonomy” in deciding whether or not to be immunized against the coronavirus on Thursday.

Beverly Ho, director of the DOH Health Promotion Bureau, stated in an online news briefing that it is apparent to the health sector and medical practitioners that “people have autonomy at the end of the day” when it comes to their health.

“That’s why they get to determine what medical procedure they go into,” Ho added.

This is in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s initial post that those who decline to be immunized would be arrested and jailed.

Ho stated that the agency is still responsible for assisting the people in making rational decisions that will give protection and safety to individuals, their households, and their community.

The department promotes “strong demand generation” through information dissemination to persuade the population to get vaccinated.

“These are not just above-the-line information dissemination activities or what you would expect traditionally, the TV commercials, radio commercials, but it’s really a lot of interpersonal convincing. With that we recognize that we can’t do it alone as DOH nor as healthcare professionals alone, so all of us have a role to play,” Ho said.

Duterte threatened to imprison those who declined to get inoculated against Covid-19 because they could be “potential carriers” of the coronavirus, earlier this week.

According to Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, Duterte’s remarks should be interpreted in the context that “the President wants to emphasize the point that vaccines are needed to help us move on and protect one another”.

She further said that vaccines are free of charge and needs prior consent.

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