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Recently, I had interviews with Cesar Chavez of DZRH, and Alvin Elchico and Doris Bigornia of DZMM TeleRadyo, where we talked about the benefits of having a bakuna card and how it can augment our efforts on safely opening up the economy. The concept of a bakuna card is an incentive to those who have chosen to be vaccinated. It will allow our workforce and senior citizens to have greater mobility given that we have been under quarantine for more than a year now. The bakuna card could convince more Filipinos to be vaccinated as they would see it as our way towards the new normal and towards greater and enhanced mobility. Here are some highlights from those interviews: With Cesar Chavez
Cesar: Sir Joey, let’s talk about your proposal of having a vaccine pass since many of our local government units now also have their own vaccine passport. What do you propose? What is in this vaccine pass that you are suggesting?
Joey: So here, what we are saying is that we must achieve herd immunity first in NCR Plus, that’s the target of the private sector groups and the national government with Sec. Galvez since it is in NCR Plus where the bulk of the percentage of our GDP comes from and where more than 20 percent of our population is situated—24 million. A victory in NCR Plus will boost our confidence and momentum in this fight against COVID-19. If we would say that we must achieve herd immunity for the whole country within the year, that’s a long shot, but if we strategized by area and strive to achieve it for NCR Plus, that’s attainable.
The existing bakuna card from LGUs can be used for greater mobility by those who have already gotten the vaccine. Some will say, ‘bakit sila lang, hindi kami,’ that’s because you didn’t get vaccinated. Then, as we attain herd immunity, ideally, we can combine this into one vaccine pass and optimize it by adopting new technologies like blockchain technology.
Also, using the bakuna card for greater mobility, this will boost the tourism sector as we would have streamlined current procedures before traveling – like having to take a RT-PCR test, the bakuna card could provide that. We can also allow restaurants to open up to an additional 20 percent capacity or even up to 40 percent.That’s some of the suggestions we are putting on the table. But if other restaurants do not like the idea, then they can still follow the guidelines that set the capacity for restaurants at 20 percent.
With Alvin Elchico and Doris Bigornia
Alvin: Tell us something more about why you’re pushing for the vaccine pass, Mr. Concepcion.
Joey: You know, once we start implementing the vaccine program, what is the end result? How do we open up the economy? So the bakuna card that is being given by LGUs, I think that can be used as a pass to really allow the resumption and opening up of the economy. Like with our airlines and domestic flights to key tourist destinations, if you have a bakuna card, we are suggesting that the card could be validation already and you will not need to take an RT-PCR test or undergo quarantine when traveling. Sec. Puyat was open to that idea and I saw her statement that eventually, they will allow foreign tourists in the country if they have already been vaccinated and can show proof of their vaccination, needing only a seven-day quarantine.
Doris: On vaccine pass, sir, that can only be done if many of our citizens have already been vaccinated because their worry is that this is discriminatory, given that they want to be vaccinated but are still not prioritized under the prioritization list and limited supply.
Joey: Yes, that’s why we need to strategize our targeting so we can attain herd immunity the fastest way possible. Achieving herd immunity and implementing the vaccine pass would motivate others to be vaccinated too, as the vaccine pass allows enhanced mobility. But right now, we are suggesting that we can use the bakuna card being given by our LGUs as our pass towards greater mobility. Such move will benefit all of us economically.
* With the concept of vaccine passes serving only as one of the many policy recommendations that countries can adopt in their fight against COVID-19 and as a way towards attaining herd immunity, Go Negosyo will host a webinar that will discuss the experiences of countries like Israel, Malaysia, and Singapore in their fight against COVID-19 and achieving herd immunity. Join our webinar and register at bit.ly/LetsGOBakuna. Watch it live on May 31, 10 am at Go Negosyo’s Facebook Page.