âConsider vaccine pass upon herd immunityâ
“This is quite possible by the end of the year. Vaccines are starting to arrive and things are now picking up,” he said in a statement yesterday.

‘Consider vaccine pass upon herd immunity’

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - May 16, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion is pushing for the use of vaccine passes in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus once it achieves herd immunity to allow resumption of normal activities and help businesses recover.

“This is quite possible by the end of the year. Vaccines are starting to arrive and things are now picking up,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He said there is a need to plan for the new normal and the use of vaccine passes may be adopted to serve as proof of inoculation against COVID-19.

“Will we still be restricting the number of people going into shops even though most of us have already been vaccinated? If we plan to loosen restrictions, how will we determine the right capacity?” he asked.

“We will need an entirely new strategy once we reach herd immunity,” he added.

Concepcion said he believes vaccine passes would help in efforts to get to the new normal and prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases.

In addition, it would give businesses a chance to recover from the impact of the pandemic by allowing those usually operating in enclosed or partly enclosed spaces like spas, grooming salons, health clubs, airlines, public transportation, shopping malls, museums and performance venues and restaurants to open safely.

“By letting this portion of the population travel, dine in restaurants or visit gyms, they can help businesses get back on their feet while we wait for everyone to get vaccinated,” Concepcion said.

Vaccine passes would also enable establishments to safely increase their operating capacities as more people get vaccinated.

“Vaccine passes can let restaurants accommodate up to 80 percent of dine-in customers that have been vaccinated. These can also boost domestic tourism because the vaccinated do not need to undergo PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests,” Concepcion said.

At present, restaurants in NCR Plus or Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal are allowed to operate at 20 percent capacity for indoor dining and 50 percent capacity for al fresco dining.

Concepcion said the use of vaccine passes, however, would require concerted national effort.

There are concerns, however, regarding standardization and data privacy, as well as possible widening of inequality.

“We leave it to the government and its concerned agencies to continue their study on the internationally accepted vaccine documentation,” Concepcion said.

“What is clear is that we cannot apply the same 10 percent-, 50 percent-capacity requirements that were used when much of the population had not been vaccinated. That’s not the way to move forward,” he said.

He said other countries like Brazil and Ghana have a vaccine pass system in place to guard against transmissible diseases like yellow fever.

He also emphasized that health protocols should still be observed even when a vaccine pass system is in place.

“We certainly do not want to curtail the rights of people who choose not to take the vaccine, but we must also consider the safety of those who have chosen to protect themselves and those around them,” he said.

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