HomeNewsRights group hits ‘no vax, no subsidy’ proposal as infringement on people’s...

Rights group hits ‘no vax, no subsidy’ proposal as infringement on people’s rights

The group said the proposals “do more harm than good,” adding that “disincentives” are punitive and discriminatory“

Human rights group Karapatan said the proposal not to release government subsidy to unvaccinated poor families infringes on the right of patients to voluntary and informed consent.

The group has expressed opposition to proposals of several government officials to implement “disincentives” against individuals who refuse to get vaccinated.

“While we encourage the public to get their COVID-19 vaccines — especially since vaccination is an important component of pandemic response — forcing, threatening, and coercing people to get vaccinated by denying them their rights and access to basic services does nothing to address vaccine hesitancy and anti-vaccine disinformation,” read Karapatan’s statement.

“The best way to encourage people to get vaccinated is through a comprehensive and mass public information drive on vaccination,” it added.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, has earlier expressed support for the proposal to make COVID-19 inoculation mandatory.

Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya has proposed to “disincentivize” the unvaccinated among beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program.

Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, said the proposals “do more harm than good,” adding that “disincentives” are punitive and discriminatory, “and the very act of withholding government aid to the people who need it amid this crisis is patently anti-poor.”

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“Individuals have the right to adopt medical procedures through their voluntary and informed consent, and their refusal to get inoculated should not be used to deny them of their right to work, to receive government aid and subsidy, and access to other basic services,” she said.

The government has been ramping up its vaccination drive to achieve population protection and bring the country back to normalcy after nearly two years of quarantine restrictions due to COVID-19.

A Philippine News Agency report said the Philippines has already administered 62,474,334 doses nationwide as of last week.

In the National Capital Region, about 88.86 percent of the eligible population are now fully vaccinated.

There are 28,718,856 Filipinos who have completed their protection against the dreaded disease, representing 37.23 percent of the 110 million estimated total population, said the report.

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