COVID-19 vaccine or jail? Philippines’ president gives citizen ultimatum

President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte

Take the vaccine, or go to jail. That’s the ultimatum being given to citizens of the Philippines by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“You choose, vaccine or I will have you jailed,” Duterte said in a televised address on Monday. His threat following reports of low turnouts at several vaccination sites in the capital, Manila.

As of Sunday (June 20), Philippine authorities had fully vaccinated 2.1 million people. This is a far cry from its goal to immunize up to 70 million people of its 110 million population.

“Don’t get me wrong, there is a crisis in this country,” Duterte said. “I’m just exasperated by Filipinos not heeding the government.”

However, his threat contradicts those of his health officials who have said that while people are urged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, it was voluntary.