The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday declined proposals permitting senior citizens aged 66 and older to leave their homes even after being fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In the current guidelines, only individuals 18 to 65 years old can go out.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said more data is needed to prove whether Covid-19 vaccines can provide immunity, during an interview on dzBB.

“Habang hindi pa ang nakakarami ang nabakunahan, ‘wag muna tayong lumabas kung kayo ay senior citizens,” Duque said.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a separate briefing that not even two doses can ensure that an individual is fully protected from Covid-19.

“Pwede pa po tayong makapanghawa at pwede pa rin po tayong mahawaan nitong sakit na ito at alam natin ang ating mga nakakatanda, sila po ay part of those vulnerable population na gusto nating protektahan,” she said.

Vergeire previously clarified that vaccines can instead reduce the severity of the infection.

A total of 786,528 individuals have been fully inoculated against COVID-19 as of May 18, 110,290 are senior citizens.

There are around nine million senior citizens in the Philippines, based on the DOH estimate. Ronald Espartinez