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Not yet time for ‘bubbles’ for fully vaccinated — DOH, WHO

The Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Philippines both said on Tuesday that it is not yet time to impose “bubbles” for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion III earlier floated the idea of allowing only the vaccinated to enter public establishments like malls and restaurants in areas that have inoculated 70% to 80% of their population

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that while the DOH has not closed its doors to the proposal, the country’s vaccination coverage needs to be improved.

“Dadating po tayo sa punto na ‘yan (We will reach that point) once supplies are stable, once vaccine coverage has improved already, not just here in NCR but also in the other regions, and once our cases are already manageable,” Vergeire told a briefing.

“Pero sa ngayon po, sa tingin namin hindi pa natin puwede ipatupad ‘yan (But for now, we think we can’t enforce that yet),” she added.

At a separate news conference, WHO Philippines country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe pointed out that even fully vaccinated people can contract COVID-19.

He also stressed, however, that the fully vaccinated are “less infective for a shorter period of time.”

“The concept of bubbles for vaccinated people doesn’t actually hold true because you will continue to be at risk of getting infected and if you are infected, you could infect other people,” he said. “So we don’t advocate for vaccine bubbles at this point in time.”

The Philippines has fully vaccinated over 13.7 million individuals as of August 29, still far from its target of inoculating over 70 million people. — RSJ, GMA News