THE Department of Health on Friday said it is studying a recommendation to allow individuals vaccinated against COVID-19 to remove their face masks.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire stressed, however, that COVID-19 vaccination will not be the sole basis for allowing individuals to go maskless, as the number of cases and the healthcare utilization rate will also be taken into account.
“Ang ginagawa natin, tayo po ay nag-aaral na nitong sinasabing rekomendasyon na ito para makita natin if we can also apply this in specific bubbles,” she said.
OCTA Research fellow Fr. Nicanor Austriaco said the government “has to be ready to gradually relax” health protocols as more Filipinos get vaccinated “to give us hope and to give an incentive to those who are hesitant.”
Austriaco said the United States has not yet attained herd immunity but has lifted mask mandates for people who are vaccinated.
Vergeire said that while more than a million individuals have received two doses of the COVID-19 jab locally, this figure pales in comparison to the country’s 110-million population.
The World Health Organization has said even vaccinated people must continue wearing masks in areas with COVID-19 transmission as “vaccines are life-saving but on their own, they are not enough.”