IATF tackles mask policy

Photo by Joey Sanchez Mendoza

As Cebu City relaxed its mask policy, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases met Monday to discuss the country’s mask policy.

Maria Rosario Vergeire, officer-in-charge of the Department of Health, said the task force will deliberate on the issue and make its recommendation to the Office of the President.

Vergeire admitted that they are not aware of the decision of the local government unit of Cebu City to put its mask policy on trial.

She reiterated that wearing masks provides 70 percent to 80 percent protection against Covid-19 infection and other infectious diseases.

On Monday, the Cebu City government announced more provisions on the supplementary order signed by Mayor Mike Rama.

Executive Order No. 5 which makes wearing masks optional outdoors will be automatically lifted in case of a surge in new infections.

The mayor also left to the discretion of business establishments, building managers and school administrations whether or not to require masks inside their premises.

The use of masks remains mandatory inside hospitals and other medical facilities.

The mask policy will be on trial period until December.

‘No expired Covid-19 vaccines for boosters’

Meanwhile, the Health department denied that it has provided expired Covid-19 booster shots to the public.

“First of all, there is no truth that we are distributing expired Covid-19 booster shots. These vaccines we are distributing have what we call an extended shelf life,” Vergeire said.

“Everybody knows about this because when these vaccines were expiring already, we coordinated with the Food and Drug Administration so that they can coordinate with manufacturers to determine if we can extend its shelf life,” she added.

She assured the public that the shelf life of some vaccines that have been extended by their manufacturers has undergone a stability study.

“Whatever we are distributing now in our communities, these are vaccines within the expiry date. So this means the vaccine is still effective and safe because the shelf life was extended,” she said.

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