Concepcion backs use of vaccine passes for safe mobility

Published May 15, 2021, 9:56 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Vaccine passes or proof of vaccination may be the way to begin getting back to normal.

A resident of Manila gets a second dose of Sinovac coronavirus vaccine at the vaccination site in Ramon Magsaysay High school on May 14, 2021. (Ali Vicoy/ Manila Bulletin)

As more people receive the coronavirus vaccines, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion has proposed the use of such document to prove vaccination status for greater mobility to shop, dine and travel in the country.

According to Concepcion, vaccine passes could be considered once the areas in the NCR Plus reach herd immunity. Such proof of vaccination would not only help guard against a surge in coronavirus cases but also help boost struggling businesses to recover from the pandemic fallout.

“Vaccine passes can let restaurants accommodate up to 80 percent of dine-in customers that have been vaccinated. These can also boost domestic tourism because the vaccinated do not need to undergo PCR tests,” he said in a statement Saturday, May 15.

“By letting this portion of the population travel, dine in restaurants, or visit gyms, they can help businesses get back on their feet while we wait for everyone to get vaccinated,” he added.

As more vaccines are delivered to the country and administered to people, Concepcion noted that the herd immunity could be “possible by the end of the year.” Vaccine passes, he noted, could be part of the new strategy once herd immunity is attained.

“For now, we need to plan for what happens in the new normal,” he said.

“Will we still be restricting the number of people going into shops even though most of us have already been vaccinated? If we plan to loosen restrictions, how will we determine the right capacity?” he asked.

With the issuance of vaccine passes, Concepcion noted that businesses could safely increase operating capacities to reflect the number of vaccinated people.

Businesses that operate in enclosed spaces such as spas, grooming salons, health clubs, airlines, public transportation, shopping malls, even museums and performance venues, and especially restaurants can safely resume operations.

“Diners, travelers, shoppers, even the cashiers and waiters – they can be confident that they are around other vaccinated people,” he said.

“What is clear is that we cannot apply the same 10 percent-, 50 percent-capacity requirements that were used when much of the population has not been vaccinated. That’s not the way to move forward,” he said.

On the issue of data privacy, he said existing technologies like blockchain could help safeguard the integrity of vaccine passes.

“We certainly do not want to curtail the rights of people who choose not to take the vaccine, but we must also consider the safety of those who have chosen to protect themselves and those around them,” he said.

Concepcion has deferred to the government to study the proposed vaccine documentation that has been implemented in other parts of the world.