Presidential adviser on entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion recently relayed the sentiment of several economic groups that herd immunity and vaccine passes are essential to the safe reopening and subsequent revival, of the local economy.
With lockdowns halting numerous businesses and tourism, resulting in thousands of lay-offs in the workforce, the Covid19 has continued to deal crippling blows to the economy since its beginning back in March of last year.
In the National Capital Region and four neighbouring provinces (dubbed the NCR Plus bubble), although an estimated 300,000 employees have been able to return to their jobs according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) with quarantine restrictions easing up last month, almost 700,000 remain unemployed due to the “high risk” nature of their work.
“There is a lot riding on achieving herd immunity so we can revive businesses that have been crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic….” Concepcion stated.
He further added that vaccine passes would be a critical tool for entering the new normal without risking another surge in Covid19 infections that would once again overwhelm hospitals.
By indicating the vaccination status of an individual and allowing them to visit local businesses, establishments would ideally be able to resume operation, and the virus would not be spread around.
Concepcion also stressed that even with vaccinations underway nationwide, prioritizing herd immunity in the NCR Plus bubble is the key to jumpstarting the economy, as aiming to achieve that status all over the country is still too difficult.
Once herd immunity in the NCR Plus bubble is attained, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry president Henry Lim Bon Liong believes that the vaccine pass will be “something that everyone could use”.
Restaurant Owners of the Philippines (RestoPH) head Eric Teng echoed Liong’s statement, but also cautioned that the implementation of the pass must be handled mindfully in order to avoid any grievances of discrimination.
“Our version of the vaccine pass is not meant as a door to keep people out, but a key to let the vaccinated in” he said.
The vaccine passes will also grant people a “sense of strength” according to Philippine Retail Association head Rosemarie Ong, as employees and customers will feel safe as they go about their business.
George Barcelon, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman for utilities and professor emeritus, stated that the country is now at a tipping point, wherein mass vaccination that is carried out efficiently is the essential push that will lead to the restoration of economic activities.
As of May 30 a total of 1,206,371 individuals have been given their 2nd Covid19 vaccine dose, accounting for about 1.11% of the country’s total population.