Everything you need to know: ‘No vax, no ride’ policy for public transport users

Prepare your vax cards
by Drei Laurel | Jan 12, 2022
PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño

Getting around Metro Manila is about to get a whole lot more difficult—at least if you still haven’t been vaccinated.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has released Department Order number 2022-001, which limits the movement of unvaccinated individuals in the National Capital Region (NCR). Below is everything you need to know about the measure:

1) What forms of public transportation will be affected by the COVID-19 vaccination requirement?

DO No. 2022-001 will cover “all domestic travel to, from, and within the NCR,” whether it be public transportation by land, air, or sea. The restriction will apply to unvaccinated individuals who reside in NCR, as well as anyone who travels to and from the region.

2) Who is considered vaccinated?

A person will only be considered a vaccinated individual if he is fully-vaccinated—either two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccination, or two weeks following a single-dose vaccination. Sinovac is an example of a two-dose vaccine, while Johnson & Johnson is an example of the latter.

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3) So I guess I’ll need my COVID-19 vaccination card, then?

COVID-19 vaccination card

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Yes. You must have either a physical or digital copy of any of the following:

  1. An LGU-issued vaccination card
  2. A Department of Health-issued vaccination certificate
  3. Any Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF)-issued document
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At least one of these must be presented, along with a valid government ID containing your photo, for you to be able to use public transportation.

4) Are there any exemptions?

Yes, there are. Exempted from this measure are individuals unable to get vaccinated because of a medical condition, though this will require a medical certificate containing your physician’s name and contact details.

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Unvaccinated individuals out to procure essential goods (medicine, medical devices, food, etc.) or services (passport and driver’s license renewal) are also exempted, but they must have a valid barangay health pass or other appropriate proof to justify their travel. Finally, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated essential workers in industries that are allowed to operate under Alert Level 3 are also exempted—but their exemption will end 30 days from January 26. Come February 26, they must be fully-vaccinated if they want to keep using public transportation.

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5) When exactly does this kick in?

Undersecretary Artemio Tuazon Jr. of the DOTr said on January 12 that the implementation of the policy will begin on Monday, January 17. “Para mabigyan ng konting allowance ang mga tao to prepare for this, ang utos ni [DOTr] Secretary [Arthur] Tugade is to make this fully effective by Monday,” the official said.

6) How long will this be in effect?

As long as the NCR remains in Alert Level 3 or higher, or as mandated by the IATF.

7) Is that all?

Unfortunately, no. No concrete implementing rules and regulations for this measure have been released by authorities. Clarifications must be made regarding its enforcement. Expect more details to be made known in the near future.

NOTE: This article was updated on January 12, 7pm, to include the exact date of implementation of the policy; and on January 26, 10:30am, to include the latest details on the exemption for essential workers.

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PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño
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