Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Friday aired his support to proposals to provide more incentives and allow greater mobility for fully-vaccinated individuals.
As chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health, Go said this would encourage more Filipinos, especially those who are still hesitant, to get their COVID-19 shots.
As the vaccines become more available, Go called on the government and private sector to come up with unique and innovative ways to incentivize people to help the country achieve population protection leading to herd immunity at the soonest possible time.
In other countries, he said those fully vaccinated can already watch basketball games live like in the United States.
“If many will be vaccinated, our lives will be more normal,” Go said.
He back the proposal of the mayors in the National Capital Region to relax some of the COVID-19 guidelines for fully-vaccinated individuals.
On Thursday, the Metro Manila Council of the Metro Manila Development Authority issued an appeal urging the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to ease the COVID-19 guidelines for those fully vaccinated, subject to further study and consultation.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority head Karl Chua supported a similar “vax bubble” initiative.
During a Senate hearing on the same day, Chua expressed support for the “Bakuna Bubble” pilot in NCR.
From March 22 to April 4, the government, through the IATF, put up a bubble in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal. Authorized individuals were permitted to travel into and out of certain places under this arrangement.
While more limitations were in place to manage mobility in these areas, most businesses continued to operate, Chua noted.
The senator also expressed his appreciation to various private businesses for their creative incentive schemes, such as discounts and provision of freebies, for fully-vaccinated persons.
Go earlier expressed support for the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines’ request to expand the government’s vaccination rollout.
In a letter addressed to the National Task Force on COVID-19, Quirino Governor and ULAP President Dakila Cua recommended that LGUs be allowed to extend the vaccines to their constituents without being limited by the prioritization scheme, while maintaining the prioritization of selected groups to reduce morbidity and mortality and protect those who bear significant risks.
Meanwhile, Go reiterated his appeal for qualified and unvaccinated Filipinos to get their respective COVID-19 shots.
Studies showed that fully vaccinated persons have a hugely decreased risk of infection and developing severe illness from COVID-19, Go said.
Thus, they should be allowed to engage in select pre-pandemic activities for as long as basic health protocols are still followed, like wearing of mask and face shield and observing social distancing, he added.
The country has so far administered 37.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of September 8. Out of these, 21.3 million individuals have received their first dose, while another 15.8 million have received their second dose of the vaccines.