‘Jab papers good as border pass’


The Department of Health (DOH) said Friday the certificate received by those vaccinated against COVID-19 could be used as a requirement for border control once the system had been widely implemented.

“I think that will be implemented and when it is widely implemented already I guess this will be part of the protocol to control the borders of each of these countries we have around the globe,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing, replying to questions on vaccine passports or proof of inoculation against COVID-19.

Vergeire said the vaccine passport would be based on the data registry of all vaccine recipients.

“There will be a QR code for each person. This will be something like a unique identifier for specific persons who will receive the vaccine,” Vergeire said.

The vaccination card will also indicate whether or not the person has already received one or two doses of the vaccine.

Asked if it will affect those who refuse to be vaccinated, Vergeire said that if this becomes part of protocol, they will also have to follow it.

“If it’s protocol and you don’t comply with the requirement to have a vaccine passport or card certifying that you were vaccinated, then you cannot travel,” Vergeire said.

Vergeire added that experts were still studying how long a person would be immune from COVID-19 after vaccination.

She said that, so far, studies show the body will respond to the vaccine within the first 14 days. And the response will be heightened when the 2nd dose is administered 21 or 28 days after.

She said this uncertainty is why minimum health standards such as the wearing of face masks will still be implemented as a precaution even with mass inoculations.

COVID updates

The Philippines logged on Friday 2,048 new cases of coronavirus disease 2019, bringing the total to 496,646, as one laboratory failed to submit their data on time, the Department of Health reported.

Top cities and provinces with new cases are Bulacan, 98; Davao City, 89; Pangasinan, 84; Manila, 80; and Leyte, 73.

The DOH reported that there are 27,033 active cases, which is 5.4 percent of the total cases. Of the active cases, 84.5 percent are mild; 7.4 percent are asymptomatic; 4.9 percent are critical; 2.8 percent are severe, and 0.42 percent are moderate.

Cebu’s cases

Cebu City is experiencing a post-holiday surge of coronavirus infections, with 492 cases logged in the past two weeks, a DOH official said Friday.

Data from the DOH showed that Cebu City logged 54 new coronavirus cases on January 9, its highest for the month. In December, the city recorded an average of 6 COVID-19 cases daily.

However, officials said the city was still able to manage the new patients, only having 16 percent of its critical utilization rate as of Thursday.

The city has nearly 900 hospital beds for COVID-19 cases, including 102 in intensive care units (ICU).

‘Stay home’

The DOH on Friday urged Filipino Catholics to observe the Feast of the Sto. Niño at home as churches nationwide prepared for the religious event while authorities were wary of a repeat of mass crowding seen at the recent Black Nazarene feast.

Vergeire warned that such an event might trigger further spread of COVID-19.

“We haven’t felt the effect of the Traslacion yet. I hope for this Sto. Niño feast it won’t happen again,” she added, referring to the gathering of around 400,000 people during the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila on January 9.

Experts said a rise in COVID-19 cases may be observed within 14 days after the January 9 event due to the incubation period of the COVID-19 virus.

FDA warning

The Food and Drug Administration Friday warned health care professionals and the public on the purchase and use of AiDeLai disposable face masks found to be unnotified or without proper authorization.

“The FDA verified through post-marketing surveillance that the above mentioned medical device product is not notified and no corresponding Product Notification Certificate has been issued,” the FDA said in its advisory.

“Since this unnotified medical device product has not gone through the evaluation process of the FDA, the agency cannot assure its quality and safety,” FDA said.

Establishments were thus warned against distributing, advertising or selling of the said “violative” face mask, until its Product Notification Certificate is issued.

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