Gov't officials renew their support for Concepcion's 'Bakuna Bubble'

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion’s proposal to set up "Bakuna Bubbles" is enjoying renewed support, especially when it pertains to outside the National Capital Region (NCR).

(Ali Vicoy/ File photo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

No less than Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III has expressed his backing for the creation of more Bakuna Bubbles outside Metro Manila.

“In our continuing efforts to guarantee our safe passage out of this pandemic, our case trends have already shown us the immense benefits of vaccines. We are one with PA Joey in our goal towards vaccination,” Duque said during Go Negosyo’s Let’s Go Bakuna Town Hall meeting.

Governors Dax Cua of Quirino and Daniel Fernando of Bulacan also backed Concepcion's notion of intensified vaccinations from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) via the bubble set-up.

“I support the one system for the whole nation like the alert level system (ALS). We hope that there will be increased mobility. We are embracing the granular lockdown approach so we can manage the surges. We have come a long way,” said Cua, who is also the chairman of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP).

“Malaking tulong po sa aming mga kababayan at mga negosyante na ang Bulacan ay nasa alert level 2 na. Ngayon po ay gumaganda ang laban natin sa pagbaba ng kaso at marami na po tayong nababakunahan sa ating kababayan pati mga kabataang may co-morbidities (Bulacan's alert level 2 status is a big boon to local residents and businessmen alike. Our battle in lowering new COVID-19 cases is improving and we've been able to vaccinate a lot of our constituents, including minors with co-morbidities)," Fernando said.

The Bakuna Bubble scheme was first pitched by Concepcion in late August. It was designed to facilitate stepped up inoculations, as well as granting vaccinated persons greater mobility compared to their unvaccinated counterparts.

Incidentally, August was when the more tranmissible Delta variant of COVID-19 first made its presence felt in the country.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, for his part, said the proposal of Concepcion and the private sector to implement a strict lockdownl in August has paid dividends based on the current downtrend in the number of new COVID-19 cases as well as several vital indicators.

“Latest data from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) shows that our decision to strike balance between protecting the health of our people and the nation's economy has been very effective,” said Galvez.

He also reported that the country achieved a weekly jab rate of more than 5.4 million from Nov. 2 to 8.

Meanwhile, Aklan Gov. Florencio Miraflores expressed gratitude to Concepcion for helping local government units (LGUs) reopen their doors to visitors by facilitating their request for vaccines.

“We were given the needed vaccines for Boracay so we can vaccinate the residents the island and the tourism workers, and we are now open to receive tourists,” said Miraflores, adding fully vaccinated tourists can now go to Boracay without a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result starting Nov. 16.

Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap said the provincial government of Bohol has also shelved the RT-PCR requirement for fully vaccinated visitors to help woo tourists back to the province. “We are prioritizing how to incentivize and how to bring back tourists to Bohol,” said Yap.

Concepcion has been actively advocating the creation of Bakuna Bubbles, calling it an effective and safe way to reopen the economy.

“With around 90 percent of target population in the NCR now vaccinated, the government should focus its vaccination efforts in other areas of the country to increase the inoculation rate in the provinces,” the Palace official said.

“By creating more ‘Bakuna Bubbles’ outside Metro Manila, fully vaccinated individuals would be given more mobility, which would help ramp up economic activity in a particular area,” he explained, adding that it would help create more jobs and livelihood in the countryside.

The Go Negosyo founder is also pushing for shortened mandatory quarantine time and more mobility for the fully vaccinated as a means to encourage Filipinos in North America to return to the Philippines and spend Christmas with their loved ones.

“Many Filipinos are longing to return to the Philippines as they haven’t seen their loved ones for two Christmases already. But they opt to stay put because of the long quarantine being imposed by our government on travelers from North America. The government should shelve its quarantine requirement so our fellow Filipinos in North America can spend the holidays with their family and friends in the Philippines,” said Concepcion.

He cted data from Philippine Airlines (PAL),, which show that the positivity rate among inbound passengers from the United States (US) is very low – less than one in 377, or less than one passenger on a full 777 aircraft.

Addressing Concepcion’s concern, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Dodo Dulay said the government is currently discussing a shorter quarantine for international arrivals instead of fully opening up the country for international travel.

“For domestic travel, we are working on a unified system that travelers can use to go around,” Dulay added.

The Town Hall was also attended by key government officials, several provincial governors, medical and data analytics experts, and representatives from the private sector--all of whom have expressed support for Concepcion’s advocacy to intensify vaccination efforts in other areas of the country.