'A much stronger bubble': Concepcion seeks 'micro-herd immunity' in NCR to boost economic activity

Published August 23, 2021, 9:57 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said the private sector is hopeful that Metro Manila would soon achieve “micro-herd immunity” that would in turn boost economic activity in the region.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion presents the proposed travel bubble or micro-herd immunity during a virtual town hall meeting on August 23, 2021. (Screenshot from Go Negosyo Facebook page)

Concepcion made the statement during a virtual town hall meeting pn Monday, August 23 as the country marked its 30 millionth vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Monday, August 23.

Concepcion said the private sector has been working relentlessly with the government to find a solution to end the lockdowns and safety reopen the economy.

He said that one of the solutions to the problem was to create a travel bubble for the vaccinated and unvaccinated where the latter will be allowed to travel from home to the workplace.

“As we have seen in news reports, the greatest number of admittance in these hospitals are coming from the unvaccinated,” Concepcion said.

“We want this not to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated. That is why the mobility of the unvaccinated is being proposed basically from home to the workplace,” he added.

Meanwhile, those who got vaccinated will be allowed more mobility to go to malls, restaurants, salons, and spas, among others.

“For the vaccinated, there is greater mobility being proposed beyond the home to workplace and adding on to different business establishments that will be allowed so that at least we are allowing the vaccinated to create that economic activity,” he said.

“I felt that this roadmap of really trying to bridge both– helping both basically lives and livelihoods can be well established if we promote this micro-herd immunity,” he added.

However, the Go Negosyo founder said this will only be possible if the National Capital Region (NCR) will be able to vaccinate at least 50 percent of its population soon– a condition posed by the government’s pandemic task force before considering the travel bubble or micro-herd immunity proposal.

“That is one of the conditions– 50 percent of the population [of] NCR must be fully vaccinated,” he said.

“Hopefully, it can happen sometime– September. But ultimately, our real goal is to try to herd it before the end of the year,” he added.

Concepcion said that with the Delta variant, the country has to hit higher numbers of vaccination to increase the defense of the proposed bubble.

“The bubble that we have to create has to be a much stronger bubble. The greater number of people that will take the vaccine increases the strength of that bubble,” he said.

“This is our proposal from the private sector and hopefully the IATF (Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) will give its nod to try this,” he added.

“If we do it well, and our mayors are able to achieve population protection and eventually herd immunity, then I think this lockdown will finally end and we will be able to live with COVID as the ordinary flu,” he continued.

Meanwhile, Concepcion said Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade has expressed support for the travel bubble proposal.

“He (Tugade) has agreed to try to work towards providing both buses for fully vaccinated and the unvaccinated just to make sure that the unvaccinated will be protected as well,” he said.