INITIALLY, I was an advocate of limiting the movement of individuals who have not been vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). I believed that this restriction would force those who continue to be vaccine hesitant to get the jab.
That is until a friend, who is much wiser than I, told me he disagreed. He reminded me that this would be okay in countries where at least half of the population have already been vaccinated like in Europe or the United States.
There, governments have imposed rules that bar the entry of unvaccinated individuals to museums, cinemas, sporting arenas and other places that draw a crowd.
He said their problem is not the lack or the sporadic supply of vaccine doses, but the number of people who don’t believe a vaccine is the answer to the pandemic problem.
Don’t get me wrong, we are not lacking in that department. There are many Filipinos who continue to believe that getting inoculated is a death sentence. However, there are also many who have changed their minds, especially with reports of the highly transmissible delta variant having arrived on our shores.
The problem is they can’t get vaccinated yet. Either it’s because their local government unit doesn’t have enough doses to meet the demand or they don’t belong to the priority group that’s being vaccinated at the moment.
Now it would be unfair to penalize those who are more than willing to get vaccinated but can’t because of the reasons I mentioned above, which is probably why Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan has received some flak on social media when he barred the entry of the unvaccinated to public and private markets, department stores and convenience stores.
It’s a good thing the mayor announced that he would review his move and monitor the number of new Covid-19 cases and the number of city residents who are vaccinated before reaching a decision.
Ahong is not the only local executive to resort to such drastic measures in an attempt to curb the rise in Covid-19 cases amid the looming threat of the delta variant.
In the southern town of San Fernando, Mayor Lakambini Reluya has prohibited unvaccinated senior citizens from leaving their homes to protect them from possible infection. How? I have no idea. Town personnel will probably be posted outside the senior citizen’s home to make sure he or she stays inside.
Ridiculous? Definitely. But the public has left authorities no choice but to come up with draconian measures to keep everyone safe since many are ignoring safety and health protocols to keep the disease at bay.
And that’s the bottom line.