Consortium emphasizes need to accelerate vaccination for safe PH economy opening

Published October 22, 2021, 10:33 AM

by Manila Bulletin

Acceleration of the jab rate is especially outside of the National Capital Region (NCR) is now made possible by the growing number of vaccine deliveries, resulting from the relentless efforts of Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez.

There is now that strong support of the private sector in procuring vaccine doses via the tripartite agreements, particularly Task Force T3, which is proposing policies to open up vaccination to the general population and vaccinating 12-17 year olds are implemented across all regions.

Also part of the proposal is booster shots be implemented immediately starting with healthcare workers.

For all of these, the mindset from scarcity of supply to sufficiency is key and embracing a simultaneous approach for all sectors over a sequential mode by sector. There also should be priority lanes for A1 to A4 individuals.

Members of T3 appealed for flexibility to administer the doses for 12-17 years old and for boosters among their employees at the soonest possible time as they expressed concern over expiration of the supply they procured.

Another recommendation is for the government to spread to provincial LGUs the processes and practices employed by NCR LGUs who have successfully achieved vaccination coverage of close to 80% fully vaccinated of the adult population. This includes a planning tool developed by T3 and employed by several NCR LGUs.

To reinforce the importance of vaccination and increase demand, the groups also proposed vaccine incentives for the fully vaccinated, allowing more mobility and unrestricted access to restaurants, gyms, tourism and other establishments and all forms of public transportation, as well as at airports and seaports. More mobility among the fully vaccinated can happen and restrictions can be removed or eased because this supports the move to re-open the economy safely. They underscored the importance of vaccination for health care workers, school employees and students and transportation and government workers.

T3 is optimistic that with increased vaccination rates, the focus can shift from lockdowns to a faster reopening of the economy. For NCR and other highly vaccinated areas, re-opening public transportation and schools was also proposed. They also called for the exertion of all efforts to reach Alert Level 2 in NCR by early November.