Discrimination vs unvaccinated 'unfair': business groups

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 13 2021 02:22 PM

Health workers administer vaccines to residents at the Isabelo Delos Reyes Elementary School in Tondo, Manila on August 31, 2021.
Health workers administer vaccines to residents at the Isabelo Delos Reyes Elementary School in Tondo, Manila on August 31, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Any scheme that could discriminate against the unvaccinated population is not only unfair but is also unlikely to boost recovery, several business groups said Monday.

Discriminating against the unvaccinated could also be "expensive" especially for small businesses that need to hire additional overhead just to check vaccination cards, president of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr said.

This, after several groups suggested a system or the "Bakuna Bubble" that would allow vaccinated individuals to operate in order to fuel the economy. Under the scheme, the movement for those unvaccinated will be limited. 

“Discriminating against the unvaccinated is not only unfair, illogical and hard to implement, but also expensive for our entrepreneurs who may even have to hire a person just to check the vaccination cards and manage another queue just for this group," Ortiz-Luis said.

"The same will happen in transport hubs if we distinguish among passengers," he added. 

With the government's vaccination plan prioritizing senior citizens and persons with comorbidities, the "bulk" of consumers may not be allowed to go out under the scheme, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) acting president Edgardo G. Lacson said.

“The policy of discrimination is a half measure that could complicate the early opening of the entire economy, since the elusive herd immunity according to medical experts is impossible to achieve even if the entire population is fully vaccinated,” Lacson said.

Lacson reiterated that the pandemic is a "pharmaceutical problem" that cannot be addressed by "militaristic solutions" such as lockdowns. 

Beefing up hospital capacities such as beds and equipment as well as the rollout of more health-compliant mass transport to avoid super spreader situations may help address pandemic issues, ECOP's Ortiz-Luis said. 
 
There should also be other measures aside from mass inoculation which has delayed population protection due to limited supply, PHILEXPORT Chairman George T. Barcelon said. 

Controlling the spread of the virus, especially with the more contagious Delta variant, should be done at the barangay level, Barcelon said.
 
But the Department of Local and Interior Government (DILG) earlier said the Bakuna Bubble is likely to be implemented. 

The measure has been recommended and was discussed by the country's coronavirus task force, Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing said.

Meanwhile, the government has approved new quarantine alert levels as well as granular lockdowns which would take effect starting Sept. 16.

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