DOH: Not yet time to drop face shields

DOH: Not yet time to drop face shields

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health said Monday it is not yet the time to ditch the policy requiring Filipinos to wear face shields in public places due to the low inoculation coverage in the country.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said this as a response to the appeal of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno to stop requiring the use of face shields outdoors.

“We can’t remove the face shield policy for now when our two-dose vaccination coverage is still low due to inadequate vaccine supply,” Duque said in a text message.

The government is facing criticisms over the slow pace of the vaccination rollout.

Since the program began in March, only 1.2 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19—still far from the government’s goal of inoculating 58 million individuals in coronavirus hotspots by November.

Meanwhile, 3.9 million have received one of the two doses.


In December, the government’s task force on pandemic response began requiring people to wear face shields on top of face masks whenever they leave their homes

The effectiveness of wearing face shields in preventing COVID-19 transmission has become a subject of debates.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not recommending face shields as a substitute for masks, saying these are not as effective at protecting people from respiratory droplets. Face shields also have large gaps below and alongside the face.

A study published in the journal Physics of Fluids does not find face shields helpful in deflecting droplets.

But the DOH has insisted that wearing face shield together with a mask, and following physical distancing rules could decrease risk by more than 90%.

The Philippines, which has one of the worst outbreaks in Southeast Asia, has so far reported 1.2 million coronavirus infections, including 21,357 deaths. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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