The government made the right move in changing the lockdown classification into “Alert Levels” that finally recognized and granted incentives to the vaccinated. More incentives must be granted to encourage more Filipinos to get inoculated, which is the key to having a peaceful co-existence with Covid-19.
It is interesting, however, that there are still some Filipino anti-vaxxers out there. Last weekend, my wife and I escaped to Tagaytay to have lunch at an al-fresco setting. A loud voice from a certain person addressed by her alalays as “Mayora” was speaking strong enough for everyone in the restaurant to hear on her stand against vaccines. She was not at my periphery, but I did see her party walk by as they left the restaurant. To make it worse, she was not wearing a mask!
Firstly, she must not have been allowed to enter the premises, much less the restaurant. Second, even if the “Mayora” was wearing a mask upon entering, she must have been reminded to put it back on while she balked on her negative take on vaccinations. I am secretly hoping that someone took a cellphone video of her in the restaurant just so I would know the true identity of this “Mayora.”
Luckily, these incidents seem to be isolated in the Philippines. In other countries, we see mass demonstrations by anti-vaxxers and those against mask-wearing. Ironically, these are first-world countries where vaccines are accessible to the general public. Proof that Filipinos are generally an obedient race. We are ready and willing to be vaccinated, just give us the time and date.
Government, both national and local, must further think of ways to incentivize the inoculated for the sake of the economy. The idea of having “vaccine bubbles” was broached in the past few weeks, where malls will allow more businesses to open and admit more mallgoers if they are vaccinated. The same must be done for hotels, tourist areas, and recreational facilities.
The question that has not been addressed is how a private establishment will determine the authenticity of a vaccine passport. The government has not answered this as it has been busy politicking and enforcing lockdowns. It seems that the goal of having a unified vaccine passport shall suffer the same fate as the other goals of mass testing and contact tracing.
I have been entering private establishments for months now, and at each time, my QR code is scanned by the security guard upon entry. The idea is that when the government learns of a positive case who entered the same establishment, all those who were also there would receive an alert and be advised to either take a test or undergo quarantine. I have never received such an alert, even if I know that someone in our building got infected by Covid-19.
We are awaiting the government’s stance on inoculating minors, administering booster shots, and online distance learning, considering that the Philippines is among the last remaining countries where schools have remained closed. In any case, the government still requires our support. If they cannot think of innovative ideas to battle the pandemic, then it is for the private sector to suggest and recommend, which is exactly what is happening right now.
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