MANILA, Philippines — Elderly people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should still avoid going to public places as they remain vulnerable to contracting the viral disease, a health official said Wednesday.
During the Laging Handa public briefing, Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said vulnerable groups, including senior citizens, should still stay at home because only a small part of the country’s population has been vaccinated.
“Ang bakuna can prevent hospitalization and death pero puwede ka pa rin magkaroon ng COVID-19,” he said.
“So kailangan, lalo na kung vulnerable kayo, dapat wag muna magsilabas, lalo na ang mga seniors kasi ang population natin konti pa ang nabakunahan,” he added.
Vega said senior citizens who have completed their vaccination doses should only go to public places when at least 50 percent of the community has been vaccinated.
“That would lessen the transmission of the virus to the vulnerable group,” he said.
When going outdoors, elderly people should follow public health protocols such as wearing of face mask and observing physical distancing. They should also avoid staying in places that are not well ventilated.
“Alam naman nila kung paano nata-transmit yung virus, dapat kung sa indoor sila, pwede silang lumabas as long as they are [following] minimum public health standards. Iwasan po nila yung crowd gatherings, iwasan nila ang pagkain sa loob ng institutions na hindi maganda ang ventilation,” Vega said.
The government has been vaccinating priority groups, including healthcare workers (A1), senior citizens (A2), persons with co-morbidities (A3), and essential workers (A4), since it rolled out its COVID-19 immunization program in March.
As of June 13, the Philippines has administered a total of 6,948,549 COVID-19 vaccine doses. Of this, 5,068,855 are first doses, and 1,879,694 are second doses.
Around 479,034 senior citizens have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
The government is urging eligible populations belonging to priority groups A1 to A4 to register, get vaccinated and complete the required number of doses as scheduled.
It also advised the vaccinated population to continue practicing the minimum public health standards as they may still get infected with COVID-19 and infect other people.