Following the recommendation of health experts, the Department of Health (DOH) will implement a “Plus One” policy for vaccination that will allow senior citizens and individuals with comorbidities to bring a companion to receive a COVID-19 shot in their vaccination appointment.
The companions of senior citizens and those with comorbidities do not need to be part of any priority group. The policy dubbed as A2 Plus One vaccination is expected to be signed this week to encourage more people in the A2 and A3 categories to get vaccinated. (Read: Common COVID-19 Vaccine Fake News And Myths–Debunked!)
“Para mas mahikayat po natin ang ating mga lolo at lola, pinapayagan na po ng ating national government na pwede silang magdala ng isang kasambahay, kamag-anak o kung sino ang kasama nila sa bahay ang maaaring pumunta para po siya ay makapagpabakuna,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online forum.
Plus One rules
While all senior citizens are allowed to bring their companion, only immunocompromised individuals with specific comorbidities under A3 will be allowed to bring their Plus One, particularly those with cancer, undergoing chemotherapy, and transplant patients.
“Ang mga papayagan lang na magdala na mga A3 ng Plus 1 would be those A3 na immunocompromised ang kanilang kondisyon at mahihirapan silang pumunta sa bakunahan,” Vergeire explained.
As of writing, there are still no clear instructions if the Plus One needs to preregister for the vaccine appointment. (Read: 3 Things to Do After Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine)
According to a news report from Inquirer, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative to the Philippines, Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said in late July that only about 2.1 million or 25% of senior citizens registered by the local governments had been fully vaccinated, while 35% had received their first doses.
Meanwhile, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country continues to rise, the DOH is recommending the use of medical-grade surgical masks over cloth masks, especially in high-risk areas.
In another news report from Inquirer, Vergerie reiterated that surgical masks provide better protection against the virus since they can filter organisms in the air.
“Ang DOH ay nagrerekomenda na kung inyo namang kakayanin sa ating mga komunidad na magkaroon ng surgical mask for our community ‘yan ang gamitin natin para mas protektado tayo,” Vergerie underscored.
However, if an individual can’t afford surgical masks, cloth masks can still be used, which offer some protection. (Read: Know the right mask to use to protect yourself from the 2019-nCoV)
“Ngayon kung hindi talaga kaya at hindi magkakaroon ng surgical mask ang ating kababayan sa komunidad, cloth mask is still recommended naman. Hindi naman natin sinasabi na hindi na pwedeng gamitin,” she added.
As of August 15, around 12.7 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 15.5 million have yet to receive their second dose, based on the data of the DOH.