Monday, May 17, 2021

No change on face mask policy even for vaccinated people

THE PHILIPPINE  government is not keen on lifting its face mask policy even for people who have already been vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).  

In an interview over Laging Handa, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Saturday said there is no enough evidence yet to prove it is now safe to remove face masks for inoculated individuals.

"Hanggang sa ngayon ang pinanghahawakan pa ho nating kumpletong ebidensiya ang isang bakunadong individual can still be infected and can still infect others. So we retain our position, hindi pa rin ho kami magrirekomenda ng ganitong pagtatanggal ng mask kung kayo ay bakunado na (As of now, we know that even a vaccinated person can still be infected and infect other people. So we retain our position, we will not recommend the removal of masks for those who got their shots)," Vergeire said.

The official said the public should not compare the Philippines to other nations like the United States that previously eased their face mask mandates, saying such countries already inoculated a large portion of their population.

"(D)ito po sa atin, that we are just nearing 3 million people who were vaccinated. So malaking diperensiya iyon at hindi natin puwedeng gawing basehan ang experience ng bansang Estados Unidos para masabi natin na magtatanggal na tayo ng mask ‘pag vaccinated (We are just nearing 3 million for people who have been vaccinated. So there's a big difference and we cannot just use the experience of the US as a basis for us to recommend such policy)," she added.

Vergeire said the DOH is open for such possibility in the future but stressed that it would need more evidence to say that the removal of face masks for the vaccinated population is safe.

"(S)a ngayon, we stick to what we have as evidence, hindi po natin maire-rekomenda muna iyan (At present, we stick to what we have as evidence, we will not recommend that yet)," she said.

The statement came after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told Americans that fully vaccinated people can now resume activities without wearing a face mask, except when they are required. ((By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora)



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