Duterte to vaccinated Filipinos: Observe health protocols

Published June 7, 2021, 1:26 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Becoming fully vaccinated against the coronavirus does not yet mean the person can start ignoring the health protocols.

A health worker prepares to administer a coronavirus vaccine to an airport employee at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on June 2, 2021. (Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

President Duterte has reminded people to continue observing COVID-19 health measures, including wearing masks, frequent washing of hands, and keeping a safe distance, despite receiving their vaccines.

Duterte, in a taped message during the ceremonial vaccine rollout for essential workers Monday, June 7, explained that the vaccination was not the only the solution but just a step closer to defeating the pandemic.

“Let us keep in mind that vaccination is the only way forward for us to overcome this pandemic but we must also remember that getting vaccinated is not the only solution,” Duterte said.

“We must continue to observe minimum public health standards by wearing a mask, washing our hands, and observing social distancing,” he added.

The government has started to vaccinate public and private sector workers this month after prioritizing the vaccination of health workers, senior citizens, and those with comorbidity. More than a million Filipinos have so far been fully vaccinated since the government began the inoculation efforts last March.

As more people receive the vaccines, the business community has called for greater mobility for vaccine recipients to help promote safe trade and travel and spur economic growth. The government has yet to formulate the new protocols for vaccinated persons in the country. Authorities however said the matter is now under study.

READ: Vaccine recipients deserve greater mobility, says Concepcion

According to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., the task force is considering giving “some sort of opening of restrictions” to vaccinated persons in the country.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the government’s vaccine expert panel will study the proposed easing of movement restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals. Duque, in a televised press briefing at the vaccine rollout for A4 priority group, said the government’s end-goal is to have “increased mobility” for people who completed their vaccination.

Duque however appealed to vaccinated individuals to continue follow public health standards. He admitted that data remained insufficient on whether vaccination can completely prevent infection and transmission of the virus.

At present, Duque said health experts are gathering additional data on COVID-19 vaccination especially in other countries where the coverage has reached more than 50 percent of population.