NTF adviser says defunct 'no vax, no ride' policy helped encourage public to get vaccinated

Published March 30, 2022, 1:04 PM

by Dhel Nazario

Even with the heavy criticism it received during its implementation, the controversial “no vax, no ride” was a good move for National Task Force against Covid-19 special adviser Dr. Teodoro “Ted” Herbosa to encourage people to get vaccinated.

A police officer checks the vaccination cards of passengers at a jeepney stop in Divisoria, Manila on Jan. 14, 2022 in line with the implementation of the Department of Transportation’s “No Vaccination, No Ride” policy in the capital region while under the more stringent Alert Level 3. (Ali Vicoy / MANILA BULLETIN)

During the Laging Handa public briefing on Wednesday, March 30, Herbosa said that he agrees with the proposal to check if someone already received a booster shot. He likened it to the controversial “no vax, no ride” policy implemented by the government a few months ago.

True to its name, it saw to it that unvaccinated people would not be able to use public transport. This was during Alert Level 3. It was then lifted as areas shifted to Alert Level 2.

It was the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) idea not to allow unvaccinated people to board public transportation as a means to prevent the spread of Covid-19. This was met with much scrutiny and groups pointed that it “violates the constitutional right to travel of ordinary Filipino citizens who have the freedom of choice of whether to get vaccinated.”

Despite various government efforts in the past few weeks, a low turnout of booster vaccination has been seen. Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje stated reasons such as “ageism” or the idea that they are already old or will die anytime soon. Others on the other hand, she said, know its importance but do not see the urgency to get one. Now with areas mostly under Alert Level 1, Herbosa said that mechanisms similar to the “no vax, no ride” will encourage more to get booster shots.

“Gusto ko yung recommendation na sometime lagyan daw natin ng deadline na maibigay yung booster para magkaroon tayo ng panahon na ichecheck mo pati yung booster shot mo ay updated (I like that recommendation to put a deadline on boosters so we can have a time where we can if a person’s booster shot is updated),” Herbosa said.

“Actually maganda yun para maencourage at maincentivize ang mga mamamayan na magpabooster na (This is actually good to encourage and incentivize our citizens by giving them booster shots),” he added.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion even proposed the idea of requiring booster vax cards before entering certain establishments such as restaurants.

However, the Department of Health (DOH) is not keen on requiring Covid-19 booster shots. Cabotaje said that they prefer to provide people with the needed information on why they should get it and the added protection it can bring.

DOH’s data shows more than 65 million individuals or 72.93 percent of the target population have been vaccinated against Covid-19 while 11.8 million individuals have received their booster shots.