Experts contradict Duterte: People fully vaccinated vs COVID-19 shouldn't roam
At least two health experts on Thursday said people should not wander around even after completing their COVID-19 vaccination, contrary to a remark from President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte in a late-night address on Wednesday said he did "not have any qualms about people going out" if they have completed their inoculation against the coronavirus.
"What’s the purpose of having a vaccine if you cannot go out? Iyong mga bakunado, puwede na kayong magpasyal-pasyal. Iyong walang bakuna, tumabi muna kayo at magplano ako kung anong gawain ko sa inyo," he said.
(Those vaccinated, you can now visit around. Those who have not gotten their vaccine, step aside and I'll plan what to do with you.)
But Dr. Nina Gloriani, head of the country's vaccine expert panel, warned fully vaccinated people could still get "breakthrough infections", especially if they roam with unvaccinated companions.
"Hindi pa po (not yet)," Gloriani said, when asked if fully vaccinated individuals can wander.
The health department's Epidemiology Bureau director Dr. Alethea De Guzman noted that while government has allowed fully vaccinated senior citizens to go out, they are still required to follow COVID-19 protocols.
"Iyon siguro iyong konteksto na kailangan nating tingnan. These are some of the benefits sana that we want our fully vaccinated individuals to enjoy, and hopefully as we scale up iyong vaccination coverage, tayo ay mas kampante na talaga," she said in the same briefing.
(That is perhaps the context we need to look at. These are some of the benefits that that we want our fully vaccinated individuals to enjoy, and hopefully as we scale up our vaccination coverage, we will get more confident.)
"Pero sa ngayon, we are being very cautious doon nga dahil sa nasabi ni Dra. Nina, it (vaccine) protects from severe and critical disease, but [gives] less protection from getting the infection."
(But for now, we are being very cautious there because as Dr. Nina said, it protects from severe and critical disease, but offers less protection from getting the infection.)
The Philippines has the second-worst outbreak in Southeast Asia, with more than 1.5 million coronavirus cases and some 27,000 deaths.
With only 6 percent of the Philippines' 109 million people fully vaccinated against COVID-19, millions remain vulnerable to getting severely ill once infected. The government is aiming to fully immunize up to 70 million people before the year ends.
– With a report from Reuters