Still no final word on government’s face shield policy; DOH wants one more week to evaluate evidence


While the Department of Health (DOH) supports ditching face shields in areas with low transmission, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH wants one more week to review the evidence before making their recommendation to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

“We need more evidence before making a recommendation to IATF,” Vergeire said in an online media forum.

On Thursday, the Department of the Interior of Local Government (DILG) have also expressed support on the calls to relax the face shield policy.

In September, President Duterte authorized the easing of the face shield regulation by limiting its wearing in closed and crowded spaces, and if a person will be engaging in an activity, which will close contact with other people.

The DOH earlier said, the benefits of using face shield or face mask or both as published in various studies suggest that one may offer better protection than the other on specific scenarios or depending on the size of particulate matter the protective equipment is blocking.

One of the studies further underscores that the use of face shields alone would be inadequate, but the use of both face mask and shield can provide better protection against infections.

A study by Bhaskar and Arun (2020) among community health workers in India, suggests that, after the introduction of face shields to 50 of the health workers who counseled 118,428 persons in May 2020, none of the healthcare workers were infected with Covid-19.

Furthermore, in the Living Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) and University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) for Covid-19 as of May 2021, evidence still suggest the public’s use of face mask plus protective eyewear such as face shield or goggles in areas with sustained community transmission of the virus.

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