A day before the implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila, residents of Las Piñas and Manila City, among other local government units (LGUs), rushed to vaccination sites before the break of dawn, eager to get a jab. The reason? Rumors going around that being unvaccinated will allegedly affect the mobility of individuals.
LGU officials have since debunked these rumors, but due to the deluge of individuals who wanted to get vaccinated today, some vaccination centers had to close down early after reaching their limits, sending those in line into a frenzy.
We break down some of the misinformation that may have sent Filipinos into a panic and contributed to unnecessarily long lines. Also listed here are what authorities have said to reassure the public about vaccine drives and other ways their needs will be met during ECQ.
‘No bakuna, no ayuda’ is ‘fake news’
According to those who lined up early today, the reason they wanted to get vaccinated immediately is that they heard that those who are unvaccinated will not be given cash aid or ayuda.
MMDA denies non-vaccinated residents in Metro Manila will not receive cash aid: Huwag kayong maniwala sa fake news. Walang katotothanan.— CNN Philippines (@cnnphilippines) August 5, 2021
Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Benhur Abalos said this is nothing but “fake news.”
Likewise, Pasig LGU also denied that it has an ordinance declaring that uninoculated residents will not receive government aid.
Fear that unvaccinated individuals cannot go out
In Manila where vaccination sites today were overwhelmed with long lines, people claimed they were not informed that there would be cut-offs. The Manila Public Information Office denies this, saying there are assigned personnel who announced this on site.
Today, Manila City has allocated 2,500 doses to each site today. Some locations had to implement a cut-off and send people in line home even before sunrise. At SM San Lazaro, because over 10,000 individuals lined up today, vaccinations had to be suspended to ensure the safety of the public.
Manila PIO found that people rushed out after hearing a rumor that unvaccinated people who are outside their homes will be apprehended starting tomorrow.
A day before the announcement that NCR will be under a two-week ECQ, President Rodrigo Duterte on July 29 said that a law for unvaccinated persons should be passed, but that he could not wait for it. “This is my order: You will be returned to your house,” he stated. “So if you want to go out, get vaccinated.”
This may have added to the confusion and subsequent panic. It should be noted that there is no law or official order to back this.
Vaccination to continue amid ECQ; unvaccinated APORs allowed outside
Two days before the implementation of ECQ in Metro Manila, the government announced that the vaccination drive will continue amid the lockdown. Walk-ins, however, will still not be entertained.[READ: NCR residents can get vaccinated during ECQ—regardless of priority]
This week, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who is a member of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), also clarified that authorized persons outside residence (APOR), even those who have yet to be fully vaccinated, would be allowed to go out during ECQ. APORs are those with official and essential businesses.