The Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) warned Thursday, July 29, fully vaccinated individuals against roaming around, saying that they are at risk of “breakthrough infections,” especially when they are exposed to unvaccinated and coronavirus-infected people.
VEP chairperson Dr. Nina Gloriani made the warning after President Duterte said in his pre-recorded public address late Wednesday, July 28, that those who completed their two-dose regimen were free to go outside.
“Hindi pa po (Not yet),” she said in a Palace press briefing when asked if people who completed their COVID-19 vaccination can roam around.
She said while health authorities maintained that there is still no indication of a surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country, fully vaccinated Filipinos should not let their guard down against COVID-19 and its variants, particularly the more transmissible Delta variant.
“Ang variants po ay nakakaaffect duon sa protection duon sa bakuna na mayroon tayo so magkakaroon ng breakthrough infections (The variants can affect the level of protection that our vaccine gives so there will be breakthrough infections),” Gloriani said.
“Yung paglabas labas, pagiging exposed sa kung sino sino especially yung di pa bakunado ay makakasama. Sabi natin ang mga bakuna ay puwede ng magprotect ng higher, maybe 80 to 90 percent against the severe form or critical illness pero hindi sya makakaprotect duon sa iba na puwede rin magtransmit ng infection (Going outside, being exposed to anyone, especially those who have not been vaccinated, will do more harm. We say that vaccines can provide higher level of protection, maybe 80 to 90 percent against the severe form or critical illness but it cannot protect others who can also transmit the infection),” she said.
Duterte said those who received the two doses of COVID-19 vaccine were free to go outside.
“I do not have any qualms– people going out kung bakunado (if they are already vaccinated). What’s the purpose of having [a] vaccine if you cannot go out?” he said.
“Yung mga bakunado pwede na kayo magpasyal-pasyal. Yung mga hindi, tumabi muna kayo. Magplano ako kung anong gagawin ko sa inyo (The vaccinated ones are free to roam around. Those who are not, step aside. I am thinking of what I should do with you),” he added.
Gloriani cited as breakthrough infections the case of 51 personnel of the Talipapa Police Station in Quezon City who were deployed for Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) and turned out to be positive for the COVID-19.
She said though they are asymptomatic, the COVID-infected police personnel should be monitored.
Malacañang said 18,709,017 million doses have so far been administered with 11.4 million getting the first shots while 7,277,312 with their second dose, since the inoculative drive started last March.