'Bakuna Bubble' scheme viable in LGUs with high vaccination rates —- Concepcion

Published September 2, 2021, 4:21 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion sees local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila with high vaccination rates as prime candidates for testing out the “Bakuna (vaccine) Bubble” set up.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo Founder Joey Concepcion (Photo from Go Negosyo Facebook page)

“We can implement the Bakuna Bubble concept in an LGU in NCR (National Captial Region) with a high vaccination rate to test if the model will work,” Concepcion said in a statement Thursday, Sept. 2.

According to him, focusing on such LGUs can contribute to the country’s overall vaccination rates and at the same time gauge if the Bakuna Bubble can be used to safely reopen the economy.

Floated last month by Concepcion after collating inputs from the private sector, the proposed Bakuna Bubbles in NCR are pockets of micro-herd immunity among closed groups, such as homes and workplaces.

It requires persons who haven’t received coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine shots to present a negative antigen or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result before entering high-risk establishments such as restaurants, salons, coffee shops, gyms, etc.

On the other hand, vaccinated individuals are granted freedom of movement under the set up.

Transport groups have expressed their support of Bakuna Bubbles by offering to field special buses for the unvaccinated, thereby preserving the integrity of the bubble’s safety. “These strengthen the protection from these bubbles,” Concepcion said.

Concepcion believes that simultaneously intensifying vaccinations to create Bakuna Bubbles can help the country attain herd immunity at a much faster rate. Bakuna Bubbles, he said, are the “small steps” that will eventually lead to the country’s attainment of herd immunity.

“For the entire Philippines to achieve higher vaccination rates, these Bakuna Bubbles have to likewise cooperate in vaccinating their members…We have to look at families and businesses as micro-groups that actually intersect in terms of interactions and mobility. The goal is to have them fully vaccinated so they have protection from COVID-19,” he said.

Concepcion said that each bubble should have its own strict health and safety protocols to enforce, which should include COVID-19 testing after each household member or employee leaves their own “bubble” to go out to see other people.

The Bakuna Bubble strategy is also seen to mitigate the risks posed by emerging variants of COVID-19, including the dreaded Delta variant.

“This is a reasonable consideration for us to constrict the mobility of the unvaccinated, as the only thing we want is to protect them and save their lives at all costs,” said Concepcion.

Data from the Makati Medical Center show that the majority of its COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated. At the Philippine General Hospital, 199 of the total 280 COVID-19 patients as of Aug. 26 were unvaccinated.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 infections were found to be minimal among those who are fully vaccinated.