Vaccine recipients deserve greater mobility, says Concepcion

As more Filipinos get inoculated against the coronavirus, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion is calling for "greater mobility" for vaccine recipients in the country.

A health worker administers a coronavirus vaccine to a Taguig City resident at a vaccination bus parked in Baranga Ususan Taguig City on May 21, 2021. Around 200 people can be accommodated inside the vaccination bus that distributes AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines against COVID-19.(Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

Concepcion has proposed the easing of movement curbs for fully vaccinated Filipinos, including seniors, adding the issuance of a unified vaccine card could help ensure their safe mobility.

The proposed issuance of a unified vaccine pass, which aims to stimulate trade and travel, was among the issues discussed by Concepcion and other local and foreign business leaders during a recent online forum.

“Seniors who have taken the vaccines should be allowed to go out. People who want to travel to different domestic areas in our country should be allowed to travel under streamlined protocols," Concepcion said in a press statement Tuesday, June 1.

"Through this increased mobility, the capacity for restaurants and other sectors would be increased, and this is where we can use the current bakuna card, or vaccine cards, being deployed and used by the LGUs (local government units)," he added.

Concepcion said a "national vaccine card" could eventually be issued "when we feel that this move should move into a national format."

The proposed vaccine pass or card is digital proof of a person's inoculation against coronavirus aimed at facilitating safe and greater mobility to shop, dine, and travel.

Concepcion is optimistic that the vaccine cards could be the country's ticket to enjoy Christmas this year and resume global travel next year.

“If you love this country, take the vaccine, it's going to save both lives and livelihoods,” he said.

“We look forward to a great quarter, a Merry Christmas, and we look forward to traveling in 2022, and hopefully, the vaccine pass or passport will start moving and materializing so that we can really, as an ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) country, allow our citizens to be able to visit one another and be back to normal times,” he added.

READ: Business leaders bat for unified digital vaccine pass system

Concepcion earlier proposed to the government to consider vaccine passes once herd immunity is attained in National Capital Region Plus. He is confident that the country could safely open the economy and restore livelihoods by then.

“By the end of the year, we have to at least attain herd immunity in the NCR-plus region, which is about 25 million people,” he said.

The government has administered more than 5 million doses of coronavirus vaccines since the free inculcation drive started last March. Over a million Filipinos have so far been fully vaccinated.

The government, however, has yet to issue new protocols for vaccinated persons in the country. The Palace recently said seniors must stay home until the population protection target has been attained.

READ: 'Achieve population protection first; seniors should stay home' — Roque

The government has disclosed plans to inoculate 9.7 million people in NCR by November to reach population protection. At present, Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal are among the priority areas for vaccination after registering high coronavirus cases. These places have been placed under general community quarantine until June 15.