Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Threatens Citizens With Jail For Refusing Vaccination

REUTERS/Dondi Tawatao

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday that he would put those refusing vaccination in jail, as the country’s borders are placed on “heightened alert” over the Indian variant of the novel coronavirus.

“If you’re a person who’s not vaccinated and a potential carrier, to protect the people, I have to sequester you in jail,” Duterte said during a pre-recorded address Monday night, according to Time.

“You can choose: you get the vaccine or I will send you to jail,” he added, according to Al Jazeera. Duterte also suggested that village leaders keep a list of people avoiding vaccination, Time reported.

The Philippine president then went on to lament “these fools” who have been adamant on not getting inoculated against the virus, saying that he will inject them with “shots intended for pigs” instead, Al Jazeera reported. (RELATED: Duterte Teases Endorsing Boxing Champ Manny Pacquiao For President)

Duterte’s threats of harsh measures against vaccine hesitancy followed the country’s health department’s announcement of four new cases of the highly contagious “Delta” variant identified in the Philippines, Al Jazeera reported.

As of Monday, only less than 2% of the country’s 110 million population were fully vaccinated, according to Philippines Vaccine Tracker.

It is not the first time since the start of the pandemic when Duterte threatened decisive action against those defying state orders. He warned the country’s residents that the police and military would shoot them dead if found in violation of lockdown orders in April.