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Philippines to exempt fully vaccinated elderly from some coronavirus restrictions to encourage Covid-19 inoculation

Philippines to exempt fully vaccinated elderly from some coronavirus restrictions to encourage Covid-19 inoculation
Twice-vaccinated senior citizens will be allowed to move more freely and socialize with “fellow senior citizens,” the country’s authorities have said. It is hoped the move will encourage the elderly to get inoculated.

The easing of coronavirus restrictions for fully vaccinated senior citizens living in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ was announced by the Philippines government on Friday.

“The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, in a meeting held Thursday, agreed to allow senior citizens who already received two shots of Covid-19 vaccine to travel within their zone,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.

According to the country’s rules, a person is considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of a coronavirus vaccine. To leave their residence and travel, the senior citizens will be required to have a vaccination card confirming their immunity status. While they’ll enjoy freer movement, they will still be restricted to their zones.

“The movement of fully vaccinated seniors is, however, limited to travel within their zone, as inter-zonal travel is still prohibited, except for point-to-point travel that was previously allowed,” Roque added.

Apart from helping the elderly cope with the burden of living under the enduring Covid-19 restrictions, the move is also expected to encourage them to opt to be vaccinated sooner.

“Get vaccinated to enjoy the incentive of going out to exercise and chat with your fellow senior citizen,” health undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told a news conference.

A country of more than 108 million, the Philippines has so far distributed only some six million coronavirus vaccines, with just over 600,000 people having been fully vaccinated to date. Manila has approved for emergency use a wide range of vaccines, including the Russian-made Sputnik V and China’s Sinovac, as well as shots by Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca.

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Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Philippines has registered nearly 1.3 million cases of the disease, with more than 22,000 deaths, faring quite well compared to the worst-affected nations.

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