The Philippines doesn’t need a Covid-19 vaccine mandate yet as vaccine stock and vaccination willingness remain high, Malacañang said on Thursday.

“Right now because the supplies have just arrived, let’s see because I think the level of vaccination—the level of individuals who want to be vaccinated is already very high so baka hindi pa naman kinakailangan sa ngayon,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said.

“Napakadami pong gusto nang mabakunahan at since nandiyan na po ang supply e ubusin muna natin ‘yung gustong mabakunahan bago natin pag-isipan ‘yung pagpasa ng batas para maging mandatory po ang pagbabakuna,” he added.

Roque made the statement days after President Rodrigo Duterte suggested that anti-vaxxers, or nonbelievers of vaccines, be inoculated in their sleep so the country could ramp up its vaccination numbers.

Duterte’s suggestion is unethical as in the Philippines, patients have the right to informed consent before being administered the Covid-19 vaccine.

In the process of vaccination, Covid-19 vaccine recipients are required to sign an informed consent form to clearly indicate a willingness to be vaccinated given full information about the vaccine brand.

Vaccine recipients are also required to undergo a health screening prior to vaccination.

According to the Department of Health, “vaccination is not mandatory, but the government highly encourages the public to get vaccinated and be protected against preventable disease.”

As of Oct. 13, the Philippines has recorded over 23 million fully vaccinated individuals, still far from its 90-million target. John Ezekiel J. Hirro