Unvaccinated children wanting to greet their godparents on Christmas Day should do so virtually as a precaution against the Omicron coronavirus variant, the Department of Health advised parents on Thursday.
Those aged 12 and below are still ineligible for COVID vaccines, leaving them unprotected against the virus, Health Usec. Rosario Vergeire said. Omicron, based on initial studies, is more contagious and current vaccines appear to be less effective against it.
The Philippines on Wednesday confirmed its first two cases of the Omicron variant, both international arrivals.
"Kung kailangan pong namamasko po, maaari naman siguro magkamustahan ang inaanak at ninang through virtual means o kaya ay sa telepono at saka na tayo magkita nang harapan kapag po talagang sigurado na tayo na ligtas tayo sa banta ng Omicron variant," she said.
"Lagi po tatandaan ang ating mga kabataan, those less than 12 years old, wala pa po silang bakuna so ang proteksyon na nae-enjoy ng ating mga magulang, at ng ating mga kuya at ate, hindi pa ho nae-enjoy ni bunso so sana po maging mas maingat tayo para sa ating mga kabataan."
Vergeire recommended hosting virtual instead of in-person Christmas parties. She said physical gatherings should be hosted in open, well-ventilated areas where proper physical distancing is possible.
Only fully-vaccinated individuals can gather indoors at 50% capacity under Alert Level 2 enforced in the entire country until Dec. 31.