Why school-based COVID-19 vaccination is more ideal for college students

Published October 30, 2021, 5:41 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The Commission of Higher Education (CHED) is pushing for school-based vaccination to convince more students to get vaccinated against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Vaccination of college students at the Quezon City University (Photo from Prof Popoy De Vera FB page)

“We want all schools, if possible, to be vaccination sites,” CHED Chairman Popoy De Vera said in a mix of English and Filipino during the ceremonial vaccination of Quezon City University (QCU) students on Oct. 29.

Making the schools vaccination sites, he explained, would fast track the vaccination of college students in universities and colleges across the country. “They already have a master list of the students and their facilities have been retrofitted for vaccination,” he added.

De Vera said that it is easier to vaccinate in schools as long as they have proper coordination with their respective local government units (LGUs).

In many instances, De Vera said that the IDs of students are just checked upon vaccination. “The atmosphere in schools I went to is really good because students see their classmates,” he added.

To date, De Vera said that there are “lot of schools that are already vaccination centers.”

For De Vera, setting up vaccination sites in higher education institutions (HEIs) streamlines the process and will also “make the schools accountable.”

Vaccination of college students at the Quezon City University (Photo from Prof Popoy De Vera FB page)

Early this month, CHED launched its vaccination caravan for tertiary students. Instead of mixing the students with the rest of the general population, De Vera explained school-based vaccination is more because schools already have a master list of their students.

“The atmosphere is more relaxed,” De Vera said, noting that many students were also able to see their classmates for the first time since schools in the country were closed due to COVID-19.

Students at the tertiary level have been under Flexible Learning since March 2020.

When vaccination takes place in schools, De Vera said that students are given the opportunity to experience a sense of normalcy as they are allowed to enter the campus premises and mingle with their classmates who they have not seen face-to-face for a long time.

“Saka nakikita nila ang mga crush nila, malaking bagay yun (Also, they can see their crush, it’s a big deal for them),” De Vera said.

QCU President Theresita Atienza also expressed the same view, noting that she became “emotional” when she saw the students physically attend a flag raising ceremony.

“Unlike in hospitals or other places, the schools are the students’ comfort zone so they would feel more relaxed if they are vaccinated here,” Atienza said. At least 300 students lined up and were vaccinated with Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca.

Atienza noted that once QCU has completed the vaccination of its students, they are open to inoculate students from other schools given that there is sufficient vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, CHED aims to vaccinate at least 80 percent of tertiary students before November ends. There are more than three million students in HEIs based on the pre-pandemic data of CHED.

READ:

CHED eyes vaccination of at least 80% of tertiary students by the end of November

 
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