Friday, September 17, 2021

Safe spaces for unvaccinated, vaccinated persons sought

Contributed by Jonah John Rodriguez

BESIDES advocating an early lockdown to prevent the spread of the delta variant, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo Founder Joey Concepcion also proposed restricting the movement of unvaccinated persons.

In his speech during the Cebu Business Month Entrepreneurs’ Summit on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, Concepcion said the proposal is not meant to discriminate against unvaccinated individuals but to protect them from the more contagious delta variant.

Concepcion proposed to create micro-herd immunity within home and work spaces by inoculating family members and fellow employees. He explained that micro-herd immunity is achieved when more than 80 percent of the population in a closed group has been vaccinated.

He also suggested providing safe spaces for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. An example of this is the deployment of dedicated buses for vaccinated individuals.

“How do we transport people from the home safely? ... We want to ensure that as the vaccinated people travel from their home to their work spaces and back, there will be transportation that will be provided that is safe, and to be safe is to stay with vaccinated people,” he said.

“I’m not discriminating against the unvaccinated, but the reality is that if you are all together fully vaccinated, then the risk of infection is very, very much less. Not to say that there is no possibility because vaccinated people can still get infected, but the chances are far lower than mixing vaccinated and unvaccinated in one very tight space like a bus,” he explained.

Moreover, Concepcion said businesses that aim for full vaccination should be incentivized. But for those who don’t have the vaccines yet, business owners should encourage their employees to secure the vaccine from their respective local government units.

There is also a need to incentivize the vaccinated public like giving them increased mobility and access to establishments such as restaurants, spas and parlors, among others.

Sought for comment, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Felix Taguiam said it would be a good idea to segregate the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

However, it should be planned well because transport providers, for instance, may be running empty units.

“Though the idea is to encourage more of our citizens to be vaccinated, some people might be offended. This is the time where every sector of society should come together for a common stand,” he said.

Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Steven Yu, for his part, said allowing fully vaccinated individuals more leeway and privileges in mobility restrictions is a step in the right direction.

But with the present metrowide vaccination rate of 23 to 25 percent, Yu said authorities cannot restrict the unvaccinated authorized persons outside their residence from working or performing essential functions.

With the limited public transportation capacity, authorities can only allocate probably sections/portions and not the whole bus for fully vaccinated individuals, he said.

“Since almost 99 percent of the Covid cases are unvaccinated individuals, the government should allow fully vaccinated individuals to be exempt from modified enhanced community quarantine restrictions as long as minimum health standards are complied with,” he said.

Yu cited examples like mass gatherings composed of fully vaccinated individuals that can follow the looser modified general community quarantine standards.

He also proposed that restaurants accept fully vaccinated individuals for dine-in and that personal care services be allowed to resume for fully vaccinated individuals, among others.


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