Vaccination against COVID-19 crucial for safe reopening of schools, DOH says

Published June 8, 2021, 5:07 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

To be able to ensure safe reopening schools over a year after they were shut down due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) underscored the need for the public to get vaccinated.


Dr. Beverly Ho, director of the Health Promotions Bureau and the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau of the Department of Health (DOH), stressed the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as various groups and sectors call for the reopening of schools.

“As we, as many sectors try to also push for school reopening, this is going to be important,” Ho said during a virtual event on Tuesday, June 8.

Groups such as Aral Pilipinas and Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) have been pushing for the safe resumption of face-to-face classes amid the challenges faced by students and teachers under distance learning implemented by the Department of Education (DepEd).

Ho said this following the confirmation from DOH that teenagers aged 16 to 17 with comorbidities can be vaccinated against COVID-19 using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

DOH, also on Tuesday, confirmed that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 12 to 15.

As a matter of policy, Ho said that DOH always takes into consideration the new evidence that comes in when it comes to its decision and policy-making.

“There will be more changes in the coming months as new evidence comes out,” Ho said. “We just need to be very receptive to these changes and communicate as they come,” she added.

Ho also noted that “it is going to be impossible to say whatever we lay down now, whatever we announce now to the people – that’s it” especially when it comes to pediatric vaccination.

Vaccinating the younger age group, Ho stressed, is as important as conducting routine childhood vaccination for children – including babies and school kids.

“These will all go hand-in-hand to make sure that safe reopening of schools will also be possible for all of us,” she added.