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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Unvaccinated, Partially Vaccinated Workers Allowed To Use Public Transport Despite No Vax, No Ride Policy


Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated workers in industries and establishments allowed to operate in the National Capital Region (NCR) under the existing COVID-19 Alert Level 3 status will only be given 30 days starting today, January 26, 2022 to continue riding public transportation and public utility vehicles (PUVs) in entering, exiting, and going around the metropolis.

This, after Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), DILG, and DOTr officials discussed in an interagency meeting on last Friday, and concurred to come up with the decision after looking into the country’s vaccination data.

DOTr Undersecretary for Administrative Service and official representative to the IATF Artemio Tuazon Jr. said that the decision intends to protect unvaccinated and partially vaccinated workers who are using public transportation from contracting COVID-19 and later developing severe infections.

“This is to ensure that only those fully protected against COVID-19 are safe from using public transport. Data show that workers who remain unvaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19 are more vulnerable to severe and critical infections,” Usec. Tuazon explained.

Usec. Tuazon said that 30 days following the announcement of the new protocol, only workers in the NCR who are fully vaccinated (those who have completed the 2-dose primary series vaccination such as for the Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, or Moderna brands; or the one-dose vaccination such as for the Janssen brand) are allowed to use public transportation.

Within the 30-day window, partially vaccinated workers are still allowed to board public transportation. However, since partially unvaccinated individuals are still at risk given that they do not have complete protection against the virus as clarified by the Health Department, they are also not allowed to use public transportation if vaccination remains incomplete within the 30-day window.

Tuazon added that the joint decision made by the DOLE, DILG, and the DOTr supports the government’s ongoing thrust to ramp up vaccination efforts, especially amid the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

“This joint decision is also meant to support the vaccination drive of the entire government. We want our workers to get fully vaccinated especially now that there is no longer a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, and there is a threat of highly transmissible variants of the virus. We are giving our workers the time to get themselves vaccinated,” Tuazon added.

The DOTr official, however, clarified that the joint decision made by the DOLE, DILG, and the DOTr is not discriminatory.

“As jointly decided by the DOLE, DILG and DOTr, workers who will remain unvaccinated 30 days after the announcement are not being barred from their workplaces. They are simply not allowed to use public transportation, but can still use other means such as active transport, private vehicles, or company shuttle services,” said Usec Tuazon.

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