Vax program to help address pandemic-related unemployment

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno said the rise in the number of individuals vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) will address the pandemic-related unemployment in the country.

“I think it’s very important but to me, the key there really is our vaccine turnout and we have been doing very well now,” he said during the virtual event hosted by The Asset.

The unemployment rate in the country increased to 8.1 percent last August from 6.9 percent last July.

Economic managers said the rise is expected given the implementation of stricter quarantine restrictions after Covid-19 cases rose due to the Delta variant.

However, they said labor force participation increased to 63.6 last August from month-ago’s 59.8 percent “as more people rejoined the labor force.”

“While this is one factor for the increase in the unemployment rate, more people were able to find work, leading to an increase in the number of employed by 2.6 million in August compared to July. This brings employment back up to 1.7 million above pre-pandemic levels,” they added.

The government earlier faced issues on Covid-19 vaccine supply given its demand worldwide but authorities said the government has secured adequate supply to vaccinate target individuals.

They said over 85.575 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been delivered in the country since last February and more than 48.9 million doses have been administered nationwide.

“We’re confident that before the end of the year around, maybe half of the population will be vaccinated,” Diokno said.

He cited that for the National Capital Region (NCR) alone, around 80 percent of the target individuals have been vaccinated.

“So we’re doing well. Because that, to me, that’s the key to recovery. Once the big chunk of the population are vaccinated, they can open the economy, there’s going to be more confidence. There will be more economic activity, more jobs,” he added.

Authorities are optimistic of faster jumps in the country’s vaccination rate since aside from having adequate vaccines supplies, preregistration for inoculation of minors has started in some local government units (LGUs).

Vaccinations for minors aged 12 to 17 will be done once the national government gives the go signal. (PNA)