A standard quarantine protocol for Filipinos who are vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) here in the country and in abroad is now being formulated by the technical working group (TWG) of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19.
“Once an OFW is vaccinated abroad and it was validated that they were really vaccinated, he or she will have the same quarantine control with those vaccinated here in the Philippines,” said Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and NTF chief implementer during the symbolic vaccination of economic frontliners or A4 priority group at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) headquarters in Taguig City Friday, June 18.
“They will follow the same quarantine procedure of seven days [quarantine] and we are looking at some sort of testing. These are all being studied and considered,” he added.
According to the vaccine czar, the proposed guidelines are still being deliberated on by the NTF as the crafting of the quarantine protocols will be among the issues to be discussed during consultations with experts from Israel’s Ministry of Health who are scheduled to arrive in the country next week.
“We want the policy for the vaccinated individuals to be fair and consistent. Because we have to remember that even vaccinated people can still get infected especially now that we have new variants,” he said.
On Friday, the Department of Health (DOH) announced that it has recommended the removal of COVID-19 testing reqquirement for Filipinos entering the country if they are already vaccinated abroad.
However, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire confirmed that the recommendation is yet to be approved as the government will have to put in place mechanisms to confirm that an inbound Filipino is really vaccinated.
Last June 4, the government announced that it has shortened the quarantine period for inbound travelers who are fully vaccinated in the Philippines from 14 days to only seven days.
The protocol for all arriving persons include a 10-day quarantine in a government facility and four-day quarantine in their homes or places of destination. However, fully vaccinated Filipinos who obtained their jab in the Philippines will only have to undergo a seven-day quarantine in a government facility.
The government describes a fully vaccinated individual if it has been two or more weeks since s/he received his/her second-dose of a two-dose vaccine, or after receiving the dose of a single-dose vaccine.
Galvez bared that the NTF has closely coordinated with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and Employment, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and various manning agencies to ensure the efficient validation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were vaccinated overseas.