Fully vaccinated seniors now allowed to go out | #elderly | #seniors | #execrise
EFFECTIVE June 16, 2021, senior citizens who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) may step out of their homes in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) or modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
However, they must continue to wear face masks and face shields, observe physical distancing, and avoid crowded areas and enclosed spaces.
They must also carry and be ready to present their Covid-19 vaccination cards based on Resolution No. 120 of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“The bottomline is that senior citizens who have been fully vaccinated are now allowed to go out. But they must still observe the minimum health protocols,” Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual press conference Friday, June 11, 2021.
To the fully vaccinated senior citizens, Vergeire issued this reminder, “Remember that you can still get infected and you can still transmit the disease.”
A fully vaccinated individual refers to a person who has received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.
“Let’s limit our interactions when we go out. Just do what you need to do such as exercising in the park. This is good for senior citizens and safe because it’s done in open air. Just don’t do it in crowded areas,” she added.
It has been over a year since the senior citizens, who are at high risk of getting severe Covid-19, were mandated to stay at home. They were allowed to go out only for essential reasons, such as a visit to the doctor or a supply run.
As of June 8, 415,540 senior citizens have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Around 1.2 million more senior citizens have yet to receive their second dose.
There are about 9.5 million senior citizens, or adults who are 60 years old and above, nationwide.
Vergeire called on senior citizens who have not received the vaccine to coordinate with their local government units (LGUs) and get inoculated.
“Get vaccinated to enjoy the incentive of going out of your home to exercise or chat with other fully vaccinated senior citizens,” she said.
Vergeire said the resolution was approved during the IATF meeting Thursday, June 10.
The latest resolution also reiterated that only point-to-point interzonal travel is allowed, as stipulated under Resolution No. 118-A.
Freedom with responsibility
Cebu City Acting Mayor Michael Rama encouraged the fully vaccinated senior citizens to “exercise your freedom,” but reminded them to be responsible.
“They can have (their) freedom with responsibility,” Rama said in a press conference on June 11.
He said the senior citizens, even if fully vaccinated, should still observe the health protocols.
He said he will issue an executive order, if needed, but he will first consult the City Legal Office and other City officials on the matter.
In 2020, Rama pushed for an end to the “senior citizens’ captivity,” referring to the stay-at-home restriction for the older adults.
In Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes and the Office of the Senior Citizens Association (OSCA) welcomed the IATF resolution allowing the fully vaccinated senior citizens to go out.
Cortes echoed the reminders issued by the DOH on the need to continue adhering to health protocols, which include wearing of face masks and face shields, observing physical distancing, and avoiding crowds.
For OSCA head Melinda Bihag, the IATF resolution will provide relief to the senior citizens who have been stuck at home.
However, she noted that it might be better for some senior citizens who have delicate health to avoid going out even if they are fully vaccinated.
She cited environmental risks such as air pollution, which could aggravate an elderly’s frail health condition.
Good for economy
Allowing the senior citizens who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 is good for the economy as senior citizens tend to spend more on goods and services, businessmen said.
Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Steven Yu said this will also prove to be beneficial for the overall health of senior citizens.
“We are amenable to the proposal to allow fully vaccinated senior citizens over the age of 65 to come out of their homes even for leisure activities not purposely to help revive economic activities but to help them achieve mental and physical well-being after being out of circulation for 15 months,” Yu said.
He said senior citizens deserve to enjoy the remaining years of their lives. Minimum health protocols should still be observed when they go outside, he added.
Alfred Reyes, Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu Inc. president, said senior citizens are their number one patrons.
He said allowing them to go out would hopefully boost their sales.
“Senior citizens are mostly the ones who have the money and are the ones who spend more,” he said.
Cebu Province and the highly urbanized cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu are under MGCQ until June 30, 2021. / SUNSTAR PHILIPPINES / JJL / KFD / JOB