The Department of Education (DepEd) maintained that the decision whether or not its personnel will get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) greatly depends on their willingness and personal choice.
DepEd Undersecretary and DTFC Chairperson Alain Del Pascua, in DepEd Task Force COVID-19 (DTFC) memorandum no. 372 dated April 19, issued has issued guidance on COVID-19 vaccination for DepEd teaching and non-teaching personnel.
Pascua noted the DepEd personnel three levels of participation in the ongoing implementation of the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP).
The first level of participation of DepEd personnel is as recipients or beneficiaries of the COVID-19 vaccination program.
Pascua noted that in support of the “forthcoming comprehensive DepEd issuances, and recognizing that local governments have commenced the implementation of their respective micro-plans in line with the NDVP,” the DTFC – through DepEd’s representatives in the Task Group Immunization Program issued guidance to the field particularly on the first level of their participation as qualified recipients of the vaccine.
However, DepEd stressed that the “vaccination remains to be the personal and voluntary decision of every personnel.”
In this light, the DTCF enjoyed everyone to be “proactive in learning about the vaccine and the vaccination program and to make an informed choice about the matter.”
In particular, Pascua said that personnel who wish to be vaccinated are advised to register for free vaccination through the respective LGUs.
“This regard, DepEd personnel who wish to be vaccinated are reminded to keep themselves updated about the announcements and promptly respond to calls of their respective LGUs for both registration and actual vaccination whenever they are eligible,” Pascua said.
DepEd personnel were also advised to “take note of which priority population group they belong to and register accordingly.”
As of April 15, DepEd said that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has identified “frontline personnel in basic education and higher education institutions and agencies” as part of the Priority Group A.
“In this light, DepEd frontline personnel may register for vaccination under the A 4 category, subject to the review and approval of their respective LGUs’ registration process,” Pascua said.
More importantly, Pascua noted that personnel who “fit the criteria for higher priority groups” such as A1 to A3 “do not need to wait for all out of the later of the later priority groups where they possibly belong to” such as A4 and lower.
Pascua also enjoined DepEd personnel “to keep themselves updated about the latest guidelines from the DOH about vaccination, especially on the eligibility, deferment, and the the requirements for medical clearance and certification, among others.”
He added that DepEd personnel – especially those are registered or will register for vaccination – are also expected to be “properly informed and updated about the latest vaccination qualifications, requirements, and procedures.”
Pascua also instructed personnel to “keep a record of their vaccination details for future reporting within DepEd.”
DepEd personnel were also reminded to continue to strictly observe the required help standards before, during, and even after after vaccination. “Once vaccinated, a person is protected from the virus, but may still be a danger to others as a possible carrier,” Pascua said.
Thus, DepEd stressed that required public health standards – which include physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and wearing of masks and face shields among others – shall remain “strictly implemented.”
Meanwhile, Pascua said that the DOH assured DepEd that any Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) “shall be properly managed.”
During a briefing of early this week, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that around 791,000 teachers and other personnel of the agency might be vaccinated against COVID-19 by June this year.