(File photo)

MANILA – The Duterte administration is still studying the proposed “bakuna” (vaccine) bubble concept which would give vaccinated people the privilege to move freely amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

“Hindi pa naman po natin ipinatutupad ang mga bakuna bubble. Pinag-aaralan pa po iyan (We are not yet implementing the vaccination bubble. The proposal is still being studied),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual press conference.

The proposed vaccine bubble is to ease Covid-19 restrictions among fully-vaccinated individuals by allowing them to engage in non-essential activities.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion’s vaccine bubble concept allows malls, restaurants, and other commercial establishments to limit entry to people who have already been inoculated against Covid-19.

Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo and AAMBIS-OWA Rep. Sharon Garin have also made a similar proposal, urging the government to implement granular lockdowns coupled with vaccine and business bubbles in Metro Manila and other metropolitan areas in the country to protect the public’s health while ensuring the safe reopening of the economy.

While the government sees the need to boost public confidence in Covid-19 vaccines, it still needs to assess if there is a need for vaccine bubbles, Roque said.

“Sa akin naman po, at some point, kinakailangan magkaroon tayo ng tiwala sa mga bakuna pero sa ngayon po, hindi pa po natin napapa-implement po iyan (For me, at some point, we need to trust the vaccines but we have yet to implement [the vaccine bubble]),” he said.

Roque issued the statement, as he admitted that there is still high vaccine hesitancy because some are still not confident about its safety and effectiveness.

He, nevertheless, reassured the public that Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

“Tandaan po natin ha, walang bayad ang magpabakuna. Ulitin natin, lahat ng bakuna ay ligtas at epektibo anumang brand dahil lahat ay pumasa sa ating Food and Drug Administration (Let us remember, getting vaccinated is free. We repeat, all vaccines are safe and effective because they secured the approval of our Food and Drug Administration),” Roque said.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on Monday urged the government to consider purchasing more Western-made Covid-19 vaccines, citing the low acceptability of Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines from China.

Roque said the government wants to procure additional Covid-19 vaccines from Western nations, but noted that the jabs “have been coming in trickles.”

“Lahat po tayo may preference, pero gustuhin man natin ang mga western brands, hindi po talaga dumarating (We all have a preference and as much as we want Western brands, they do not arrive here), and the Philippines is not alone,” he said.

As of Monday, around 22,970,212 individuals have received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, while 18,823,718 have been fully vaccinated. (PNA)