'Achieve population protection first; seniors should stay home' — Roque

Published May 31, 2021, 2:36 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

“Let’s veer on the safer side.”

Malacañang thought it would be safer for senior citizens, even fully vaccinated ones, to stay in their homes until the country has achieved population protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

A senior citizen receives the second dose of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine while other people wait for their turn at a vaccination site in Sampaloc, Manila on May 25, 2021.(Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement following suggestions to allow fully vaccinated seniors to go out for leisure activities.

In his press briefing on Monday, Roque said allowing seniors to go out and go to malls depends on the country’s success in achieving population protecton.

“Yung pagpapalabas po after the vaccination, tingin ko po depende ‘yan kung maa-achieve na natin ang population protection (Allowing them to go out after their second dose depends if we can achieve population protection),” he said.

“So let us veer on the safer side na hanggang wala pang population protection, habang hindi pa natin nababakunahan ang 70 percent ng ating populasyon, stay at home po muna ang ating mga lolo at lola (that unless we’ve achieved population protection, while we have not vaccinated 70 percent of our population, then our grandparents should stay at home),” he added.

According to Roque, that it would be better for seniors to stay at home because they were not as strong as young people despite being fully vaccinated.

“Ang bakuna po is not a guarantee na hindi na kayo tatamaan ng COVID. It is a guarantee na, siguro, hindi kayo magkakasakit nang malala o hindi kayo mamamatay (The vaccine is not a guarantee that you will not get COVID-19. It is a guarantee that you will not get severe symptoms or die if you catch it),” he said.

“Pero iba po ang kondisyon ng mga seniors. They are especially vulnerable. So ang effect po ng bakuna sa isang malusog na kabataan ay hindi po kapareho sa isang matanda (But it is different for seniors. They are especially vulnerable. The effect of a vaccine to a healthy young person is not the same with the elderly),” he added.

However, the Palace official said this did not mean that seniors were prohibited from going out.

“Hindi naman po absolutely prohibited ang mga seniors na lumabas (They are not absolutely prohibted from going out),” Roque said.

“Pwede po silang lumabas para bilhin ang mga kinakailangan nila. Kung kailangang pumunta ng mall para dito, pinapayagan naman sila (Seniors can go out to buy necessities. If they need to go to the mall for that, they may do so),” he added.

Roque said seniors were also allowed to go out to exercise outdoors.

“Pinapayagan silang mag-exercise dahil importante naman talaga ang exercises para sa health promotions (They are allowed to exercise aoutside because that is important for health promotions),” he said.

“Kinakailangang maging malusog laban sa COVID-19 (We need to be healthy to fight COVID-19),” he added.

Inoculating seniors is a priority of the government. In its vaccination program against COVID-19, seniors are second-in-line after healthcare workers.