THE Department of Health (DOH) is not in favor of easing restrictions only for fully vaccinated individuals, saying this will give rise to discrimination.
In a statement on Friday, September 10, 2021, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the proposal of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) may be disadvantageous to those who still don’t have access to vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
"We still have to consider that majority of the population is still not vaccinated and, hence, it may lead to discrimination, especially to those who don’t have access to vaccines yet," said Vergeire.
On Monday, September 6, Vergeire also said the proposed vaccine bubbles for fully vaccinated individuals still have to be discussed by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
She said the DOH does not recommend these vaccine bubbles because both the fully vaccinated and unvaccinated may still contract Covid-19 as the vaccine does not block transmission but protects against severe disease and death.
Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo earlier said they have monitored 242 breakthrough infections with five deaths. All were senior citizens, with some of them having comorbidities.
Breakthrough infections refer to cases of fully vaccinated indviduals getting sick with Covid-19.
"Everyone should take precautions. Everyone should still comply with the minimum public health standards," Vergeire had said.
Domingo stressed, however, that breakthrough infections were rare out of the 13.86 million fully vaccinated individuals in the Philippines as of August 31, 2021.
Aside from the breakthrough infections, there were also 732 partially vaccinated individuals who contracted Covid-19, with 86 deaths. Among individuals who have received both doses but contracted Covid-19 less than 14 days after the last dose, there were 98 infections with five deaths.
There were also 63 cases, with 10 deaths, among individuals with "unknown dose/timing."
On Friday, Vergeire said there is no scientific basis to provide a different treatment between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
She assured, however, that they are still open to hearing other proposals of the MMC.
"We are carefully reviewing and studying these kinds of recommendations," said Vergeire.
On Thursday, the MMC issued a resolution urging the IATF to ease Covid-19 restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals in order to boost economic activities in the region. (Marites Villamor-Ilano, HDT / SunStar Philippines)