An infectious disease expert supported the Department of Health’s (DOH) revival of the proposal to redefine the term “full vaccination” against COVID-19.
In an interview on Dobol B TV, Dr. Rontgene Solante said that Filipinos can never expect herd immunity to occur, and rely on “full vaccination” as presently defined, because of the emergence of multiple variants and sub-variants of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
“We cannot rely on herd immunity. What is the meaning of herd immunity? Majority are being vaccinated so that those without vaccines are protected. We cannot rely on that,” Solante said.
“The variants of concern are changing. So everyone should be getting their vaccines, their boosters,” he added.
Solante backed the DOH’s proposal to redefine the term “fully vaccinated to include those who have received their first COVID-19 booster shot.
“That is one of our suggestions, we are going to redefine the ‘fully-vaccinated.’ We will require workplaces, schools and high-risk areas, such that people can only enter if [their] vaccination is updated, and with booster,” he said.
“I think with this, the number of people getting their boosters will increase,” Solante added.
However, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier advised against coming up with a new definition of who may be considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Department of Health said.
“We have already recommended this to the President, and the President advised us na huwag muna because it’s going to cause more confusion, especially now that marami na tayong polisiyang pinapalabas (The President advised us not to redefine it yet as it’s going to cause more confusion, especially now that we are already releasing many policies.),” DOH officer-in-charge Dr. Ma. Rosario Vergeire said.
“We will not redefine it yet as it is still being studied carefully,” she added.