Public schools are ‘last resort’ for vaccination drive, says DepEd

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 28 2021 03:32 PM

Community frontliners and barangay health workers receive their COVID -19 vaccines at the Placido Del Mundo Elementary School, Quirino Highway, Barangay Talipapa, Quezon City on March 23, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – The Department of Education said Sunday public schools should be the “last option” for use as coronavirus vaccination sites, stressing the need to ensure the safety of personnel who report for on-site work.

“Under our current policy, school buildings should only be used as a last resort if there is no other place,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a statement.

Aside from this, schools that would be used as vaccination sites must also first meet the requirements set by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases. 

No other COVID-related activities must be conducted in the selected schools, according to the department. 

“We are ceaselessly attuning with the DOH and the local government units in determining the schools that are capable to meet their standards because we know that not all schools have the facilities needed for an immunization activity,” Briones said.

The DepEd also gave authority to its regional offices to allow the use of schools as vaccination centers based on the endorsement of the schools' division offices.

Briones noted that schools identified to take part in the dry run for face-to-face classes, which is still waiting for the approval of President Duterte, are not allowed to become vaccination centers.

As of March 23, the Philippines has inoculated 508,332 persons, mostly health workers, against COVID-19, which has so far sickened more than 702,000.

The government is eyeing to vaccination up to 70 million this year to achieve herd immunity against the virus.