'Vaccine passes should be the carrot, not the stick,' says consumer group head

Published May 20, 2021, 7:52 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

A pro-science consumer advocacy group has called on commercial establishments in the country to help make the proposed “vaccine passes” feel like a reward to people who have made the choice to get inoculated from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

An elderly woman being administered a COVID-19 vaccine. (Ali Vicoy / File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The vaccination pass will work better as a carrot rather than a stick,” Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya Para sa Mamamayan (AGHAM) President Angelo Palmones said on Thursday, May 20.

“Incentives can be given to vaccine pass holders. It can be in the form of discounts for sales, additional miles for travellers, etc.,” said the former House of Representatives member.

Palmones’s call was similar to that of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which earlier this week prodded the private sector to come up with possible perks for vaccinated people that could be given by certain establishments. This, despite the DTI not being gung-ho on the notion of vaccine passes.

A vaccine pass basically acts as proof that an individual has already received a COVID-19 shot or shots.

Some businesses are reportedly seeking the implementation of a vaccine pass system in determining who can or cannot enter a physical establishment. But this could be interpreted as the rather negative “stick approach” if one is to apply Palmones’s logic.

DTI Undersecretary Ireneo Vizmonte said last Monday, May 17 that enforcing vaccine passes for such purpose would be impossible to implement in the entire industry. He also worried about its tendency to cause discrimination among people.

At any rate, the AGHAM leader agreed with the DTI in that formulating incentives or perks for vaccinated individuals could lead to better things, such as the development of best practices in the Philippines under the new normal.

“It can be a new business model in the post-COVID period,” Palmones said.