Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Thursday, Feb. 4, said that she will abide by the decision of the government when it comes to being vaccinated against COVID-19.
Asked about her plans to avail of the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available in the country, she told the Manila Bulletin that she will “abide by the decision” of Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter Agency Task Force on Emerging and Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) as well as “in consultation with my doctors.”
Briones, 80, currently leads the Department of Education (DepEd) after she was appointed by President Duterte in 2016. Despite her age, she is very active in visiting various schools in the country before the pandemic.
Even at the onset of the pandemic, Briones continued to lead DepEd in the shift into distance learning under the Basic Education -Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP). attended regular meetings, albeit virtually, to ensure that the opening of the school year (SY) 2020-2021 will push through despite the challenges.
On April 9, 2020, Briones announced that she tested positive for SARS-COV-2, the causative agent for COVID-19, after getting a confirmation from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). She was asymptomatic. Despite being in isolation, she continued working by attending virtual meetings of the IATF-EID as well as meetings with DepEd officials.
On April 13, Briones announced that she has tested negative for the novel coronavirus. In a meeting with education ministers from Southeast Asian countries in June, she shared her story as a COVID-19 survivor – noting that this disease should not be “viewed as a death sentence” because she is a “living proof.”