Expert allays worries over removal of COVID-19 jab requirement in colleges

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 06 2022 05:56 PM

ABS-CBN News/File
Students at the school grounds of the Far Eastern University in Manila on Feb. 23, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — An infectious disease expert on Tuesday allayed concerns over the Commission on Higher Education’s decision to remove the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for in-person classes.

Dr. Rontgene Solante, who was among the experts consulted by CHED, cited the low-risk COVID-19 classification of many regions, as well as high vaccination rates among students and members of the academe.

"Ang importante dito, we are not encouraging somebody na unvaccinated. We still encourage everyone to be vaccinated," he said in a televised briefing.

Solante explained the age group of tertiary students were not among those considered high-risk for COVID-19, compared to the older populations.

"Importante rin ang international benchmarking. May mga bansa na sinusundan natin na nagbubukas na rin ng face-to-face classes, at kasama doon ang mga unvaccinated," the expert said.

"Gayunpaman, tuloy pa rin ang strategy sa mga paaralan in terms of minimum public standard protocol. And part of that strategy ay i-intensify ang information campaign on the importance of vaccination sa paaralan, and then participation of HEIs sa DOH PinasLakas para mapataas ang booster shots."

Solante believes it would be easier to convince unvaccinated students to get the jab when they start attending in-person classes.

"Mas maganda ang magiging motivation ng mga estudyante na nandoon sa paaralan, in terms of getting the vaccine and getting the correct information mismo doon sa mga nabakunahan at mismo sa mga teachers na nabakunahan,” he said.

Courtesy of PTV