MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday urged personnel and learners to continue participating in the government's COVID-19 vaccination drive, as it sees inoculation as crucial in the safe reopening of schools.
The DepEd said it encouraged its field offices and schools to cooperate with their respective local government units to avail COVID-19 vaccination for eligible minors and education frontliners.
"Vaccination is one of the essential keys towards protecting our communities and our children against the threats of COVID-19," Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a statement.
"With additional protection for our stakeholders, we can further implement our safe-return-to-schools initiatives while helping our economy recover," she added.
Last November, the Philippines began COVID-19 vaccination for people aged 12 to 17. The government is also planning to start inoculation for those aged 5 to 11 in February.
Briones also urged teaching and non-teaching personnel to get their booster shots.
"We are reminding our personnel and offices to not wait since local government units are already vaccinating and giving COVID-19 jabs to their constituents," she said.
The DepEd is currently implementing a three-phased plan to resume in-person classes in basic education schools, which were banned starting March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the guidelines, only vaccinated school personnel are allowed to attend in-person classes.
Latest data showed that 57.2 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the Philippines, while 6.2 million booster shots have been administered.