The government is not inclined to suspend the vaccination of people living in Metro Manila when the capital region shifts to the most restrictive lockdown next month.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government’s vaccination drive would proceed as scheduled but reminded authorities and the public to follow health protocols to curb any virus spread.
Roque recognized that vaccinations are “crucial to build a wall of defense against the Delta variant and to protect the population.”
“With the looming threat of Delta variant, there is no question that vaccination even in areas under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) classification is an imperative solution,” he said.
“Vaccinating individuals in this trying time is an essential health activity. Our mass vaccination program will therefore continue and intensify for first and second dose, notwithstanding next week’s ECQ classification of Metro Manila and other areas,” he said.
Metro Manila will stay under general community quarantine with heightened and additional restrictions from July 30 to August 5 but will revert to the enhanced community quarantine from August 6 to 20. The two-week hard lockdown aims to stem an imminent surge in coronavirus cases driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant.
Among ECQ restrictions previously implemented by the government are stay-at-home rule for people excepting for essential work and services, ban on large gatherings, travel restrictions, and ban on face-to-face classes,
But the vaccination drive will be exempt from the ban on mass gatherings in the ECQ areas.
Roque said Section 2 on the Guidelines for Areas Placed Under ECQ of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines stated that “gatherings that are essential for the provision of health services are allowed.”
“We have to ensure, however, that public transportation and vaccination sites would have mechanisms to implement minimum public health standards,” he said.
He also reminded the public to “cooperate to ensure the health and safety of everyone – vaccinators and vaccinees alike.”
“To reiterate what the President said, no one is safe until everyone is safe,” he said.