People who got vaccinated for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infection might be allowed not to wear face masks anymore, according to the Department of Health (DOH). 

However, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that receiving the Covid-19 vaccine will not be the only basis for allowing individuals to go maskless outside since the DOH is still looking at the rising number of new cases and the country’s healthcare utilization rate. 

“Ang ginagawa natin, tayo po ay nag-aaral na nitong sinasabing rekomendasyon na ito para makita natin,” she said in an online briefing.

Even though the country has already vaccinated more than a million people, the said number is lower compared to the country’s 110-million population, Vergeire said. 

“Kung sa Estados Unidos po ay nagkaroon sila ng polisiya na pwede nang hindi mag-mask kapag nasa labas, tayo po dito, hindi pa rin po natin ‘yan makonsidera kasi ‘yung rate ng vaccination natin, hindi naman pareho doon sa Estados Unidos,” she said.

“Mahirap po tayong magkumpara sa ibang bansa sa estado natin ngayon… Meron pa rin po tayong mga pailang ilang lugar dito sa ating bansa na tumataas po ang kaso,” she added.

Meanwhile, OCTA Research fellow Fr. Nicanor Austriaco said during an interview with ANC that the government “has to be ready to gradually relax” health protocols since more Filipinos are getting vaccinated already “to give us hope and to give an incentive to those who are hesitant.”

The United States has not yet reached herd immunity but already lifted the mask requirement for people who received the Covid-19 vaccine, according to Austriaco.

The World Health Organization recommended that vaccinated people should continue wearing masks in areas with Covid-19 infections, explaining that “vaccines are life-saving but on their own, they are not enough.” Ronald Espartinez