Govt eyeing vaccination of teachers, students

Residents wait in line to be inoculated of Sinovac vaccine during the Manila local government vaccination for people ages 18-59 years old with comorbidities at the Justo Lucban Elementary School in Paco on Wednesday March 31, 2021.

The government will set aside Covid-19 vaccines for the inoculation of all teachers and other education support personnel in preparation for the opening of limited face-to-face classes in the country, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19, said on Wednesday.

Galvez, also the vaccine czar, said the government, in close coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd), will be ramping up the inoculation of the teaching personnel by August.

That has been prioritized and we plan to inoculate all of them this coming August. We will be prioritizing that by separately allocating vaccines to DepEd,” Galvez said in Filipino during the House committee on health hearing on the Covid-19 situation in the country.

He noted that the task force is now working on the provision of Covid-19 vaccines to all those teaching personnel and DepEd staff, along with those who are set to serve and attend the opening of limited face-to-face classes, particularly in medical fields.

“In fact, those who are attending internship and those are having examinations are already included in the vaccination,” he said.

Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje noted that the students who will be attending limited face-to-face classes are also part of the government’s prioritization framework in the national Covid-19 vaccination program.

Cabotaje said the vaccination of students will be done in a “phased manner.”

She said the DOH is closely coordinating with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to analyze the vaccination scheme for the students “because as of now we will not be able to meet all the demands.”

Meanwhile, Galvez said the task force is still waiting for advice from the Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) for Covid-19 and the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) on when to start the pediatric vaccination.

The government is doing its best to acquire a sufficient supply of vaccines so it could further expand the vaccination drive to children, he added.

He said the government will provide a “special allocation” of vaccines to DepEd and CHED in support of the resumption of face-to-face classes in the country.

The government earlier eyed about 29 million doses for pediatric vaccination using the CoronaVac, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Moderna jabs.

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