Incentives, restrictions recommended instead of mandatory vaccination against Covid-19

(Ali Vicoy / Manila Bulletin File Photo)

Giving incentives and imposing certain restrictions can help encourage more people to get inoculated instead of making Covid-19 vaccination mandatory, said Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.

Concepcion made the suggestion amid the low uptake of Covid-19 vaccine booster shots in the country.

“Pwede nating i-restrict yung (We can restrict the) movement those who did not take the booster shots,” said Concepcion during a forum hosted by the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) on Thursday, April 7.

“Whatever efforts that the private sectors do, either giving benefits or incentives---we will do it just to encourage. And the hard hand approach can be adopted in this way---restricting mobility, transport mobility–whether flying to a province or taking public transportation,” he added.

However, Concepcion said implementing such restrictions can trigger criticisms from the public.

“But of course that would also come with a lot of criticism from the public which at this point in elections, people try to avoid all of that. So, but then again, the consequence of failure is going to be a problem in the second semester,” he said.

Concepcion said it is also important to use the available vaccines before they expire.

“I think this is one area that the President would have to make a decision and hopefully the situation where you have 27 million expiring---and remember, we still have much more than 27 million on hand. So, if that's going to expire you will have others that are coming close to expiry so this number is huge,” he said.

“These are the consequences if we fail to really boost our people in this period. So, I look at it as a critical point. We cannot fail in executing this third booster shot,” he added.

Meanwhile, Concepcion also welcomed the move of Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III of encouraging legislators to make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory.

“I think it's good that Secretary Duque is trying to push it forward and get Congress and the President to try to make vaccines mandatory but I don't think it will make it through. And by and large, I think we can't really force people to take the vaccine if they don't want to. But what we can do is to do what we have been doing in the past,” he said.

PCP President Dr. Maricar Limpin, meanwhile, also supported the recommendation of Concepcion.

“I think I will have to agree with Mr. Joey Concepcion. Probably we can restrict and if the private sector can afford it, then there can be some incentives para ma enganyo natin ang mas maraming tao (for us to entice more people),” she said.

Limpin also emphasized the importance of communicating the right information about the vaccines to the public.

“But what is really important ay malabanan natin lahat ng maling impormasyon na kumakalat na siyang pinapaniwalaan ng marami sa mga Pilipino. So, importante kasi na maalis natin ang mga agam-agam sa kanilang mga pag-iisip para sa ganoon sila ay magpunta at magpabakuna (is that we fight all the false information that is spreading which many Filipinos believe. So, it is important that we remove the doubts in their minds so that they can get vaccinated),” she said.