DOH ‘unreasonable’ for not giving vaccinees ‘vaccine passes’ — Macalintal
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) is being “unreasonable” for not allowing vaccinated persons unlimited access to business establishments, lawyer Romulo Macalintal said Saturday.
Macalintal made the remark after the DOH said it is not in favor of “vaccine passes” that would allow vaccinees unlimited access to business establishments as there is no sufficient evidence just yet to show that people inoculated with existing vaccines can no longer infect others.
“With due respect to DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, I vehemently disagree with her position not to allow persons already vaccinated against COVID-19 access to indoor services but practically allowing those unvaccinated people, 18-65 years of age, to enjoy such privileges in areas under General Community Quarantine,” Macalintal said in a statement.
“This is too unreasonable because common sense will tell us that evidence abounds showing that those unvaccinated persons are more at risk or in danger of contracting or transmitting COVID-19 than vaccinated individuals who are safer or have more protection from contracting this virus,” he added.
Macalintal said there is a need to amend the guidelines being issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on the imposition of general community quarantine, saying a person’s vaccination status has to be taken into consideration.
Macalintal said such a policy will encourage more people to get vaccinated.
“This is where the distinction should be made in that those already vaccinated should be given a special privilege or a ‘vaccine pass’ to distinguish them from those who have not yet been vaccinated. This is where we separate the men from the boys, so to speak,” Macalintal said.
According to Macalintal, in other countries, vaccinated individuals are given special access to hotels, restaurants, casinos, and other places of entertainment.
“The DOH need not fear of a sudden rush of persons going out of their residences because the IATF guidelines would still be followed, the only difference being that those already fully vaccinated shall be given the perks or special privileges,” Macalintal said.
Macalintal said the IATF “should clarify the category of persons 18-65 years of age who should be allowed access to such services, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated.”
“For sure, it will be safer and less dangerous to give more allowance or privileges to those who have already been vaccinated. So that, if say, 50 percent is allowed access to an area, at least 30 percent should come from the vaccinated people and 20 percent from those unvaccinated,” Macalintal said.
“Those over 65 years old may also be allowed similar access but should be limited only to those who have been fully vaccinated,” he added.
As of May 14, the number of total active COVID-19 cases in the country is 58,986. The DOH’s case bulletin on Friday showed that the country has so far confirmed a total of 1,131,467 COVID-19 cases.
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