DOH: Not enough doses for special treatment of vaccinated during ECQ

DOH: Not enough doses for special treatment of vaccinated during ECQ

MANILA, Philippines — Pandemic restrictions will be implemented on the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, the Department of Health said Friday after a statement from President Rodrigo Duterte to keep the unvaccinated from leaving home raised concerns of potential discrimination.

Although some Filipinos have are averse to getting vaccinated, the government's inoculation program has also had to contend with supply shortages that have suspended vaccination in some areas.

“There will be no distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said when asked if the government will allow those who have completed vaccination to leave their homes.

Only persons authorized outside their residences — like essential workers — will be allowed to go outdoors, she added.

Vergeire also pointed out that the country’s vaccine supply remains limited and that many people who want to get vaccinated do not have access to jabs.

“We don’t have enough supplies to say that only vaccinated can go out and the unvaccinated cannot go out,” she said.

‘Undue discrimination’

In a statement Friday, the Commission on Human Rights said preventing unvaccinated individuals from going outdoors “may result in undue discrimination considering there are reasons for being unvaccinated that are beyond their control.”

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia noted the challenge in vaccine supply and the vaccine hesitancy among people, which is caused by various reasons, including receiving wrong information about vaccines.

“Such restrictions will ultimately have an impact to their abilities to cope with the effects of the pandemic, including effects to livelihoods and ability to fend for themselves in the absence of explicit proposals for aid while in isolation,” de Guia said.

The commission issued the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte urged barangay captains to restrict the movement of unvaccinated people. There is no law punishing individuals who are unvaccinated against COVID-19.

Since March, 7.27 million Filipinos have completed vaccination against COVID-19, while 11.43 million have received at least one dose.

Metro Manila vaccinations to continue amid ECQ

COVID-19 vaccination activities in Metro Manila will continue even if the capital region will be under a two-week enhanced community quarantine next month, Malacañang said Friday.

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said vaccination is an “imperative solution” amid the threat of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19.

“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,” Roque said.

Gatherings that are “essential for the provision of health services” are allowed, according to omnibus guidelines on the implementation of community quarantine.

“We have to ensure, however, that public transportation and vaccination sites would have mechanisms to implement minimum public health standards and that the public has to cooperate to ensure the health and safety of everyone—vaccinators and vaccinees alike,” Roque said.

Duterte approved the recommendation to place Metro Manila under enhanced community quarantine from August 6 to 20 to slow the spread of the Delta variant and to shield the country’s medical system.

Before the capital region shifts to the strictest quarantine status, it will first be put under general community quarantine “with heightened and additional restrictions” from July 30 to August 5. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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