Allowing fully vaccinated persons to travel within the country freely and without COVID-19 testing could urge more people to get inoculated, an official of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Bohol said.
According to LMP Bohol vice president Mayor Dave Duallo of Buenavista, he supports the national Inter-Agency Task Force’s (IATF) move to allow fully vaccinated persons to engage in interzonal travel without having to present a negative coronavirus test result as this would serve as an incentive for the public to get jabbed against the contagious disease.
“I support that. That is a good incentive sa mga taw na magpa-vaccine sila kay kung imong ma notice gamay ang percentage sa nagpa-vaccine karon,” said Duallo in an interview over station dyRD on Thursday.
“Mas maayo ng naa tay ihatag na incentive sa mga vaccinated aron ma encourage ang mga taw na magpa vaccine,” he added.
The mayor however noted that the move to ease travel restrictions was ill-timed for Bohol considering that the province has been experiencing a sustained surge in new COVID-19 infections.
“Wrong timing lang ning maong resolution tungod sa surge nato diri sa Bohol,” he said.
Last week, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced the issuance of IATF Resolution 124-B, which abolishes the need for COVID-19 testing for interzonal travelers who have received full doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Bohol IATF however decided to maintain the requirement of a negative RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) result to enter the province even for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to BAITF spokesperson Dr. Yul Lopez, members of the BIATF health cluster including doctors and health experts raised concern over the possibility of fully vaccinated individuals to still be carriers of the contagious respiratory disease.
“Experts say that even fully vaccinated persons can still get infected by COVID. So pwede pa diay ma carrier na pod,” Lopez said.
The health official also noted the possibility of travelers using fake vaccination cards to enter Bohol.
“There is a big concern on the assurance that vaccination cards are genuine and not fake. Kung malutsan ang LGU, dakong problema ky laktod wala na man gyud testing upon entry,” Lopez added.
On Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said concerned agencies will again discuss the new IATF policy after local government leaders expressed concerns over its implementation, citing lack of consultation and the difficulty to validate vaccination cards.
“Bago niyan, ang dati nating resolution ay meron tayong testing… Sa ngayon, ibabalik muna natin doon (testing requirement) hangga’t sa maayos natin bukas, matapos ang usapin kung kinakailangan amiyendahan pa itong Resolution Number 124-B,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
In a statement, the DOH said that “while the IATF has said that vax cards may be used in lieu of testing requirements, as we iron out operational concerns, IATF Reso. 101 remains in effect.”
“This means LGU can still require testing as a requirement to entry. Status quo po tayo,” it added.