DOH reminds firms: ‘No vax, no work’ policy is not allowed | Inquirer News
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DOH reminds firms: ‘No vax, no work’ policy is not allowed

/ 05:36 AM August 06, 2021
DOH to independent experts: ‘Be more careful in making pronouncements’

Facade of the DOH main office in Manila. INQUIRER.net file photo

The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday assured workers that there was no policy prohibiting them from working even if they have not yet been vaccinated.

In an advisory, the DOH said any “no vaccine, no work” policy by employers was not allowed, citing the Department of Labor and Employment’s Advisory No. 3, Series of 2021.

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Employers, according to the advisory, could only encourage—not force—their employees to get vaccinated. “Any employee who chooses not to get vaccinated or fails to get vaccinated shall not be discriminated against in terms of employment,” it pointed out.

The health department issued the reminder the day before Metro Manila and nearby provinces are placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest category in the government’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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The DOH also cited Republic Act No. 11525, the law establishing the COVID-19 vaccination program, which stated that employers could not ask for a vaccine card as an additional requirement for employment purposes.

As early as March, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III already said that any no vaccine, no work policy was illegal, stressing that it could be considered discriminatory since there was still a very limited supply of vaccines.

Milestone

So far, 10 million Filipinos are fully protected by COVID-19 vaccines, or 11.9 percent of the population. The government aims to vaccinate 70 million adults this year.

The National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) said on Thursday that 12,206,553 Filipinos had received their first dose.

Government officials marked this “milestone” in the vaccine rollout that started in March, with NTF chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. telling the public not to panic after huge crowds turned up at vaccination sites around Metro Manila a day before the lockdown.

In a statement, Galvez said the government would scale up its vaccination program during the two-week lockdown.

Galvez also said they intended to increase Metro Manila’s vaccine allocation during the ECQ to eight million doses from an initial four million jabs.

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Metro Manila mayors had agreed to impose the two-week quarantine on the condition that the national government provided them with four million vaccines and money to be given as cash aid or “ayuda” to affected residents.

As of Thursday, Galvez said a million doses have so far been deployed.

Galvez said the country was expecting 22.7 million doses in August from different vaccine manufacturers that were issued an emergency use authorization in the Philippines.

Metro Manila cities were aiming to administer 250,000 doses daily during the lockdown.

At a ceremonial vaccination in Mandaluyong City on Thursday, NTF deputy chief Vince Dizon said the country recorded its highest number of doses administered in a day on Aug. 3 at more than 700,000 vaccines.

He said the Philippines, on that day alone, even surpassed the United States’ daily average rate of 650,000.

Galvez said the three million Moderna vaccines donated by the US government and the COVAX facility were allocated to the National Capital Region and six areas, namely Laguna, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, Metro Davao and Metro Cebu.

About 500,000 of the latest Sinovac shipment would also go to these places with rising COVID-19 infections, the NTF said.

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TAGS: Department of Health, DoH, Policy, vaccinated, workers
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