The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Friday, Oct. 22, said that the vaccination rate of college students remains low at only 27 percent.
“Ang target natin ay lahat na sana ng estudyante ay mabakunahan kasi doon sa kinuha naming data on the ground sa mga nagre-report na eskwelahan, 27 percent pa lang ng mga estudyante nationwide ang vaccinated (Our target is to vaccinate all students because based on the date on the ground coming from the schools that submitted their reports, 27 percent of the students nationwide are vaccinated),” CHED Chairman Popoy De Vera said during the Laging Handa public briefing.
De Vera said that getting all students – along with the faculty and other school personnel – vaccinated against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is very crucial for the gradual resumption of face-to-face classes in the tertiary level.
“Medyo malaking trabaho pa iyong ating gagawin – sana 70, 80, 90, 95 percent sa kanila ay mabakunahan (We still have a lot to catch up – hopefully, 70, 80, 90, 96 percent of them [students] should be vaccinated),” De Vera explained.
With the vaccination rate of students still low, De Vera is encouraging more to get vaccinated to help ensure the safe reopening of limited face-to-face classes in other degree programs.
To highlight the urgency of vaccinating tertiary students, CHED launched a vaccination caravan that is expected to go around various universities and colleges nationwide to inoculate as many students as possible.
Recognizing that there are areas with low vaccine supply, De Vera said that CHED has already talked to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. to “redirect” the vaccines to areas that need them.
De Vera said that he and Galvez have been going around different HEIs nationwide to oversee the vaccination of tertiary students.
“When we go around the schools, we make sure that universities with low vaccine supply will get more by redirecting these to the local government units and will be specifically allocated for the students,” De Vera explained in a mix of English and Filipino.
As an intervention by the National Task Force, De Vera said that a certain number of vaccine doses are set aside for students. Thus, it is very important for CHED to determine the number of vaccinated and unvaccinated students so that proper allocation would be made.
While COVID-19 vaccination is not a “requirement” before students are allowed to attend limited in-person classes, De Vera said that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 “adds another layer of protection” to the school and community where it is located.
Based on the reports coming from 1,488 universities and colleges in the country, De Vera said that 73 percent of higher education personnel are already vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Oct. 6.