COVID-19 vaccination key to 'old normal' Christmas — Concepcion

Published June 9, 2021, 2:52 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Enjoying the “old normal” Christmas may be within the nation’s reach.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion talks to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and testing czar Vince Dizon on the sidelines of the COVID vaccine rollout for essential workers at the SM Mall of Asia on June 7, 2021.(Ali Vicoy/ Manila Bulletin)

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion is optimistic that vaccination of half of the population of Metro Manila and eight other provinces can be achieved by September as vital key to return to normalcy.

According to Concepcion, attaining population protection could help promote greater mobility for the vaccinated people as well as spur business activities and economic recovery.

Population protection, where 40 to 50 percent of the target population will be vaccinated, will require about 30 million doses of coronavirus in NCR Plus eight provinces.

“Those vaccinated then stand to enjoy greater mobility and access. Seniors will be allowed to go out and people will get to travel freely without the need for testing. All this can be triggered if we are able to achieve population protection or inoculation of 40-50 percent of the people in NCR,” Concepcion said in a statement.

“Then we can have an ‘old normal’ Christmas this year,” Concepcion added.

With the anticipated arrival of more coronavirus vaccines this third quarter, Concepcion said the population target can be attained “perhaps as early as the end of September.”

After inoculating health workers and seniors, the government has expanded the vaccination program to cover the country’s essential workers in the public and private sectors. More than 30 million workers are expected to be inoculated under the phased vaccine rollout.

“We are optimistic that the rollout of the vaccines that are coming will be smooth. By working together, the government and the private sector can put the country back on the path to recovery and then to a rebound,” Concepcion said.

The government originally planned to inoculate 70 million Filipinos this year to attain herd immunity. But with limited vaccine supply, it revised its goal to attain 50 to 60 percent of Filipinos to attain population protection, initially in National Capital Region and nearby provinces.