IATF yet to approve COVID-19 booster, third shots for health workers, elderly – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   October 25, 2021   •   167

MANILA, Philippines – The proposal to give COVID-19 vaccine booster and third shots to healthcare workers, the elderly, and persons with co-morbidities has yet to get an approval from the government’s task force on pandemic response, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement following reports that the Department of Health (DOH) has greenlit the administration of booster and additional vaccine shots to vaccination priority groups.

Roque said the recommendation is still up for discussion at the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) meeting this week.

“’Yan po ay rekomendasyon ng HTAC. That will be tackled po, I think in the next meeting of IATF his Thursday,” he said.

Based on HTAC’s recommendation, the booster shots should be given within the fourth quarter of the year to health workers, the elderly, and persons with health risks who receive the jabs at least six months after the primary series.

The HTAC also recommended that the boosters should be based on the vaccine brands received by the individuals in the primary series.

The HTAC also pushed for the implementation of boosters for other eligible population in 2022 only if the A1 to A5 priority groups reach 50 percent in the primary series.

For the implementation of additional shots, particularly for immunocompromised individuals, the HTAC recommended that the dose will be given at least 18 days after they completed the initial COVID-19 vaccine series.

The third shot is recommended to be the same as those received in the primary series.

IATF updates testing, quarantine protocols; Apayao now under Alert Level 2

Maris Federez   •   December 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has approved testing and quarantine protocols for arriving international passengers in all ports of entry in the Philippines coming from countries/territories/ jurisdictions not classified under the Red List.

This was what was agreed upon in the task force’s meeting on Thursday (December 2).

In a statement released to reporters, acting spokesperson Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the new protocols shall take effect Friday, December 3.

As part of the new protocols, fully vaccinated individuals shall be required to have a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day, with the date of arrival being the first day.

Regardless of a negative result, they shall be required to undergo home quarantine up to the 14th day from the date of arrival.

On the other hand, individuals who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated shall be required a negative RT-PCR test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test done on the 7th day, with the date of arrival being the first day.

Like those who are vaccinated, they, too, shall be required to undergo home quarantine up to the 14th day from the date of arrival, regardless of a negative RT-PCR test result.

The statement also said that the IATF has directed the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to ensure that airlines board only passengers who comply with the negative RT-PCR test-before-travel requirement.

“The testing and quarantine protocols of minors, on the other hand, shall follow the testing and quarantine protocol of the parent/guardian traveling with them, regardless of the minor’s vaccination status and country of origin,” the directive read.

“For international passengers who have already arrived and are currently undergoing quarantine, they shall continue with the testing and quarantine protocols in place at the time of their arrival,” it added.

The directive further read that Filipinos from Red List countries allowed entry via government-initiated or non-government repatriations and Bayanihan Flights shall only be allowed to deplane via the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and/or Clark International Airport.

The DOTr, through their attached agencies, is directed to ensure the compliance of airlines with this directive.

Upon arrival, passengers must comply with the testing and quarantine protocols as prescribed under IATF Resolution No. 149-A (s.2021).

Meanwhile, the IATF also amended the metrics for determining alert level classifications of provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities.

Amendments include removing the One-Week Growth Rate as a metric for escalation from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2, and the escalation of areas under Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2 if either case classification or total COVID-19 bed utilization increases to moderate risk or higher.

Also, part of the amendment is the escalation of areas under Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3 if both case classification and total COVID-19 bed utilization are at moderate risk, or if case classification is at high to critical risk.

With the implementation of the revised metrics, Apayao shall be classified under Alert Level 2 from December 3 to 15, Nograles said. —/mbmf

Pagpapatupad ng mandatory COVID-19 vaccination, nakasalalay sa Kongreso – IATF

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Nakasalalay sa Kongreso ang pagbalangkas ng batas kung gagawing sapilitan sa bansa ang pagpapabakuna kontra COVID-19.

Ito ang naging pahayag ng Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) matapos sabihin ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na payag siyang gawing mandatory ang COVID-19 vaccination sa Pilipinas sa harap ng banta ng bagong COVID-19 variant na Omicron.

Ayon kay acting Presidential Spokesperson at Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, wala sa kapangyarihan ng IATF na pilitin ang publiko na tumanggap ng COVID-19 vaccine.

“Kailangan po ng batas, mas magiging… mas magkakaroon ng mandatory enforcement kapag meron pong batas mula sa Congress at mapirmahan ni Pangulong Duterte, so it is up to congress to feel the need kung kinakailangan magkaroon ng batas to make it mandatory,” ani Nograles.

“As far as IATF is concerned, patuloy pa rin po ang ating pagmi-meeting tungkol d’yan at paguusap namin sa proposal na yan,” dagdag pa niya.

Samantala, iiminungkahi naman ni Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año na higpitan na lamang ang mga polisiya para sa mga hindi pa bakunado upang maengganyo ang mas marami pang Pilipino na magpabakuna.

Aniya, may kapangyarihan naman ang mga alkalde na maglabas ng kautusan o ordinansa para makumbinse ang kanilang mga constituent na magpaturok na ng COVID-19 vaccine.

“Hindi natin ima-mandatory but at least, we’ll make it harder for them to live while there’s a pandemic. It’s because of mutations, kung hindi ma-achieve ang herd immunity,” ani Año. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

COVID-19 Alert Level 1, hindi pa maaaring ideklara sa alinmang panig ng bansa – Malakanyang

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Patuloy pang pinag-aaralan ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) ang mga panuntunan upang maisailalim sa pinakamababang COVID-19 Alert Level ang isang lugar, ayon sa Malakanyang.

Ayon kay acting Presidential Spokesperson at Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, ito ang isa sa mga dahilan kaya hindi pa makakapagdeklara ang pamahalaan ng Alert Level 1 sa alinmang panig ng bansa.

“Yung alert level 1, pina-finalize pa po natin lahat ng parameters na kinakailangan para ma-consider ang isang lugar na qualified mag-alert level 1. So, sa ngayon po, meron pa po kaming tini-tweak at pina-finalize na mga parameters. So, right now hindi tayo handa na mag-declare ng any alert level 1 sa ngayon,” ani Nograles.

Nakasaad sa panuntunan ng IATF sa nationwide implementation COVID-19 Alert Levels System na ang mga lugar na mababa at pababa ang case transmission, total bed utilization at intensive care unit (ICU) usage rate ang maaaring isailalim sa alert level 1.

Sa pinakamababang alert level, full on-site o venue at seating capacity na ang pinahihintulutan sa mga establisyemento at activities pero dapat ay maigting pa rin ang pagpapatupad ng public health standards.

Samantala, kumpyansa naman ang Duterte administration na maabot pa rin ng bansa ang four to five percent target economic growth rate para sa taong 2021.

Ito ay kahit mananatili sa COVID-19 alert level 2 ang Metro Manila at mga kalapit probinsya nito hanggang kalagitnaan ng Disyembre.

“Barring any unforeseen circumstances, kung patuloy itong pagbaba ng kaso, patuloy rin po ang pagbaba rin ng mga ADAR, two-week growth rate, at patuloy pa rin po ang safe reopening ng ating ekonomiya then we are very confident that we will reach our growth targets,” ani Nograles.

Muli namang nanawagan ang Palasyo sa publiko na magpabakuna na at sumunod sa mga panuntunan para sa ligtas na pagbubukas ng ekonomiya. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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