The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said facilities of over 30 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are now being considered to be used as vaccination sites for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination program of the government.
“HEIs are in meeting with now with DOH [Department of Health] discussing this,” CHED Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III told Manila Bulletin on Tuesday, March 30. “There are more than 30 HEIs in the meeting now,” he added.
During the Laging Handa public briefing on March 30, De Vera confirmed that 24 HEIs nationwide have been allowed to hold limited face-to-face classes since January. These HEIs offer medicine and allied health sciences.
“Ang 24 na i-approve ay mula nung January pa iyan noong pumayag ang Presidente (Those 24 that were approved started since January when the President allowed it),” De Vera said.
However, he noted that even before the reported surge in COVID-19 cases – especially in the National Capital Region (NCR) – these schools have automatically stopped holding limited face-to-face classes.
De Vera explained that these HEIs were allowed to hold limited face-to-face classes to ensure the steady supply of healthcare workers in the country and to ask for their assistance in the COVID-19 vaccination program of the government.
“Those that were allowed to hold face-to-face, they also function as vaccination centers,” De Vera said.
De Vera said that since the HEIs already retrofitted their facilities, they are considered “safe places” to be used. “The retrofitting of schools has double purpose: to enable them to hold limited face-to-face and for them to help in the vaccination drive of the government,” he added.
In the coming weeks, CHED expressed optimism that more HEIs will offer their facilities to be used as COVID-19 vaccination centers.
“There are over 30 universities that already did retrofitting of their facilities so their facilities can now be used for the expanded vaccination program,” De Vera said.
Once universities retrofitted their facilities, De Vera said that safety is more guaranteed. “They already have have signages, they have health protocols, the arrangement of the seats follow social distancing measures, and they have facilities like the gyms that can be used for mass vaccination,” he added.