Fully vaccinated? Here are rules for traveling within the Philippines

The Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 has "finalized" protocols for fully vaccinated individuals in the Philippines, so far only covering travel within Philippine territory.

The latest rules, contained in IATF Resolution No. 124-B, were announced in a briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Sunday, July 4.

Here is what you need to know.

Who is considered a fully vaccinated individual?

Under IATF guidelines, a fully vaccinated individual is someone who is at least two weeks past having received the second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or at least two weeks past having received a single-dose vaccine.

The vaccine received must also be included in the country's Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) List, have a Compassionate Special Permit (CSP) issued by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration, or be on the Emergency Use Listing of the World Health Organization.

What to know about intrazonal travel

Intrazonal travel means movement inside an area under the same set of quarantine rules. For example, travel within Metro Manila is considered intrazonal travel.

According to the IATF, intrazonal travel for fully vaccinated individuals is subject to the presentation of a COVID-19 domestic vaccination card, or a certificate of quarantine completion showing the holder’s vaccination status, as may be issued by the Bureau of Quarantine. 

Presenting these documents, Roque said, are "sufficient alternatives" to any testing requirement – before travel or upon arrival – that the local government of destination may require.

Still, traveling fully vaccinated individuals need to undergo health and exposure screening.

Fully vaccinated senior citizens, specifically, are only allowed to travel within areas under general community quarantine and modified general community quarantine, the two least restrictive quarantine declarations.

When fully vaccinated individuals need to quarantine

If fully vaccinated individuals are identified as close contacts of probable and confirmed COVID-19 cases, they can avail of a shortened seven-day quarantine period if they remain asymptomatic for the entire seven days.

If the LGU decides to test fully vaccinated individuals, Roque said "this may be done not earlier than the fifth day after the date of the last exposure."

No testing and quarantine are needed for close contacts who may have been traced beyond the 7th day from the last exposure and who remained asymptomatic.

The rules remain the same for fully vaccinated individuals who either test positive in an RT-PCR test or become symptomatic. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.