Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said his department is proposing to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management Emerging Infectious Diseases to ease restrictions for individuals who completed their coronavirus diseases 2019 vaccines.
“We just hope, moving forward, as we get to vaccinate more, we start to reopen further, we are looking to give benefits, especially to those who were vaccinated. We’re saying that those who already got their vaccines, I hope they can feel some benefits,” Lopez said during the ceremonial vaccination for the A4 group.
He said the IATF and the private sector are discussing developing a policy that will give benefits to those who already got their vaccines.
This was echoed by National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. during the press conference.
“We are studying in the IATF to give privileges to those individuals, who got their vaccines,” Galvez said.
He cited that in Israel, vaccinated elderly can already visit stores and can go outside their residences, while those who did not get their vaccines are still not allowed to go outside and are required to take Covid-19 testing every three days.
Lopez said individuals 65 years and above who already completed their Covid-19 vaccines and are currently not allowed to go outside their residences may benefit from easing restrictions after being vaccinated.
Lopez said they are also eyeing to shorten the period for quarantine for domestic and foreign travels for those who already got their vaccines against Covid-19.
“That is also a big help to the investors. A lot of investors really want to get in but they get discouraged by the long quarantine that we still have. We simply follow the best practices that the other countries are doing,” he said.
Lopez added this kind of adjustment will help the country towards its path to economic recovery.
ADVISORY FOR INOCULATION
Western Visayas is still waiting for the final advisory on the availability of vaccines intended for economic workers, or those belonging to the A4 priority group in the region.
Dr. Bea Camille Natalaray, medical officer IV of the Department of Health-Western Visayas Center for Health Development, said the available vaccines for the region are intended for priority groups A1 to A3.
These priority groups are composed of frontline healthcare workers, senior citizens, and adults with co-morbidities.
“For now, the A4 vaccination starts in NCR plus eight other areas. Currently, we still wait for allocation from the central office for our A4 group because our current allocation is allotted for A1 to A3,” she said in a virtual presser yesterday.
The Regional Vaccination Operations Center report showed that, as of June 5, the region vaccinated 90,975 out of the 130,067 masterlisted under A1, 83,754 out of 83,754 for A2, and 66,025 out of the 132,363 masterlisted for the A3 priority group.
Of the 244,623 vaccinated with their first dose under the priority group A, 123,640 received Sinovac vaccines, and 120,983 got the AstraZeneca.
The report added that 71,548 individuals already received their second dose.
Meanwhile, the intensified campaign to address vaccine hesitation in the region is being pushed as cases of Covid-19 are increasing.
In a previous presser, Natalaray said the low turnout of vaccination, especially for barangay health care workers and barangay health emergency response teams, was attributed to their fear of side effects and misconceptions circulated by anti-vaccine groups.
Also, there was an increased deferral to Covid-19 cases and exposure.
The increased cases also led to the implementation of strict quarantine measures, thus restricting movement.*PNA