'Allow us to go out', say vaccinated senior persons in the Philippines


A government worker wearing a protective suit walks past a shop that displays a "Closed" sign as they prepare to disinfect a Covid-19 testing site to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Quezon city, Philippine. The Philippines is extending an already monthlong lockdown by two weeks as the country's worst coronavirus infection spike starts to ease but remains alarming. - AP

MANILA, May 2 (Philippines Daily Inquirer/ANN): A senior citizen rights advocate wants inoculated seniors to have special privileges amid quarantine protocols during the Covid-19 pandemic, as such protocols can be “relaxed a bit” now that they are vaccinated.

Lawyer and long-time advocate of senior citizen rights Romulo Macalintal said elderly people who are vaccinated should be given updated protocols in terms of activities they’re allowed to do while under community quarantine — instead of just being told to stay inside despite being vaccinated.

“May I suggest that the IATF’s guidelines on community quarantine be relaxed a bit for senior citizens (SCs) who have already been vaccinated against the Covid-19, ” said Atty. Romulo Macalintal in a letter to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on Saturday

“The rule that SCs (senior citizens) should ‘remain in their residences at all times’ in areas under quarantine should be amended in that SCs who have already been vaccinated even with one dose may be allowed to go out of their residences at any time provided they still observe the required health protocols of wearing face masks and face shields and observing physical and social distancing, ” he explained.

The special privileges Macalintal wants vaccinated SCs to have include being allowed attendance at mass gatherings, religious activities, and dining in at restaurants.

“However, they should be required to show a copy of their vaccination card issued by vaccination centers to prove that they were already inoculated, ” Macalintal said.

He added that with these special privileges, other SCs may also be encouraged to get vaccinated, citing a report from Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla stating that most Filipinos who do not want to get vaccinated are seniors.

The SC rights advocate also cited a survey by Pulse Asia on March 26, which revealed that 61 percent, or 6 out of 10 Filipinos refuse to be vaccinated.

“Easing the rules a bit will differentiate between a non-vaccinated SC and a vaccinated SC in that the latter is sure of a better and stronger protection against COVID-19 than one who has not yet been vaccinated, ” explained Macalintal

He cited a U. S. medical study stating that vaccines were 94% effective against COVID-19 hospitalization among fully vaccinated adults ages 65 and older in the United States. Meanwhile, vaccines were 64% effective against hospitalization among older adults who were partially vaccinated or those that had only one dose of vaccine.

“Relaxing the quarantine rules for vaccinated SCs may also bolster the joint government and private sectors’ call to support the vaccination drive of the government, ” Macalintal said.

As of May 1, there have been a total of 1,046,653 recorded COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. Of this number, 72,408 are active cases.

The so-called NCR Plus (Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite and Laguna) is currently under MECQ until May 14.

The Department of Health, on the other hand, said it has so far administered over 1.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, as of April 28. - Philippines Daily Inquirer/ANN

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