WHO: NCR vaccine bubble 'premature' until inoculation rates up in Regions 3, 4A

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 14) — The World Health Organization said Thursday it might be too early to consider a vaccine bubble for Metro Manila if neighboring regions haven't bumped up their inoculation drive's coverage yet.

“Our contention is that if we can achieve the rates of higher coverage in [Regions] 3 and 4A, then we may be able to look at it because then the number of people coming into the bubble will be significantly less who are unvaccinated,” WHO representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe explained in a Palace briefing.

This is because there’s a lot of movement of people to and from these three regions, he said, citing specifically trade activities in these areas.

Over 7.7 million individuals in the National Capital Region have been fully inoculated against the disease, yielding a nearly 79% coverage rate.

However, the WHO official emphasized it’s “premature” to discuss vaccine bubbles for now since the Philippines has only fully vaccinated 30% of its population so far.

Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion has consistently called for the capital region to be placed under a vaccine bubble in a bid to jumpstart economic activity while ensuring the safety of all.

Under the proposal, only fully vaccinated people will be allowed to enter malls, restaurants, spas and other such areas.

The Trade department, meanwhile, said previously that this proposal could help businesses struggling amid the health crisis. 

Indoor establishments allowed to operate in Metro Manila — which is currently under Alert Level 4 and will be shifting to a lower classification this weekend — may only accommodate fully inoculated individuals at limited capacities.

RELATED: Cinemas, theme parks at limited capacity: What to expect under Alert Level 3