Marcos thumbs down redefining ‘fully vaccinated,’ says DOH
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has advised against redefining “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19 as it may only cause “more confusion.”
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the officer in charge of the Department of Health (DOH), said this at a press briefing on Tuesday.
So the definition remains: A fully-vaccinated individual is someone who already had the first two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The DOH has repeatedly reminded vaccinated individuals to get booster shots because their immunity against COVID-19 wanes over time.
That’s why the DOH has been pushing for a redefinition of the term “fully vaccinated.”
“We have already recommended this to the president, and the president advised us not to do it yet because it’s going to cause more confusion, especially now that we are coming out with many policies,” Vergeire said, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino.
Marcos suggested another approach to the DOH.
“He said: Let’s intensify our efforts to improve vaccination on the ground. Maybe we can encourage them by doing an incentive and disincentive scheme. For example, tourists visiting local tourist destinations could be asked for a card showing that they have had a booster dose,” Vergeire said.
“Our DOT [Department of Tourism] could also give perks so that those already boosted will get extra perks when to they go tourists spots,” she added.
Vergeire said that this would still have to be done in phases to see whether it would really improve the government’s vaccine coverage.
“So we will not go to the redefinition first. We are still studying that carefully,” she said.
As of Sept. 12, a total of 72.8 million people have had their first two doses of the vaccines. But only 18.6 million individuals have availed their boosters shots and only 2.5 million have been inoculated with the second booster dose.
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