DOH to set up vax sites in strategic locations for in-person classes

Published August 16, 2022, 5:58 PM

by Analou de Vera

DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire speaks to members of the media during the first face-to-face press briefing after two years at the DOH Central Office in Manila on Wednesday, July 20. (MB Photo: Noel Pabalate)

Vaccination sites will be set up in strategic locations such as in “highly populated” and “nearby” schools to encourage eligible students and other people to get vaccinated against Covid-19–ahead of the resumption of face-to-face classes this month, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

“Yung vaccination sites natin sa schools it doesn’t necessarily mean na lahat ng eskwelahan sa buong bansa lalagyan natin (Our vaccination sites in schools doesn’t necessarily mean that we will put them in all schools in the country). That is not going to be efficient for the government. So, ang gagawin natin pipili tayo ng mga eskwelahan, na mga highly populated ang community para doon natin siya i-seset up (what we will do is we will choose schools that are highly populated in the community and that is where we are going to set this up),” said DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire in a press briefing on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

“Pipili din tayo ng mga eskwelahan na strategic kung saan yung ibang ekswelahan na malapit doon maari din na pumunta para doon sila makapagpabakuna (We will also choose schools that are strategic–where those from nearby schools can also go so that they can get vaccinated there),” she added.

To date, a total of 3,131 vaccination sites in schools have already been set up, said Vergeire.

“Dadagdagan pa din natin syempre hanggang sa pagpasok kasi ng mga bata kailangan visible ang vaccination sites (We will add more because the vaccination sites need to be visible) so that we can further encourage our mothers to have their children vaccinated,” she added.

Unvaccinated teachers

Vergeire also encouraged teachers to get vaccinated against Covid-19. This after the Department of Education (DepEd) announced that unvaccinated teachers are allowed to teach in face-to-face classes, provided that they strictly follow the health protocols.

“Wala naman po sa protocols ng bansa natin na sinasabi na kapag hindi ka bakunado, hindi mo na pwedeng gawin ang iyong trabaho. Ang sa atin lang, we highly encourage all of those who are going to interact with children to be vaccinated for better protection ng ating mga kabataan (There is nothing in our country’s protocols that says that if you are unvaccinated, you can no longer do your job. As for us, we highly encourage all of those who are going to interact with children to be vaccinated for better protection of our young people),” said Vergeire.

The DOH official said that the DepEd has the “authority over schools” and that it has “that authority over who they will be designating or assigning to take care of our children.”

“Ngayon po may mga ganitong polisiya (Now that there are policies like this), we leave it to the Department of Education to ensure that even though that they are going to deploy these unvaccinated teachers, they have to ensure that all of the safety protocols are in place so that we can be able to better protect our children,” said Vergeire.

Schools as quarantine/isolation facilities

Meanwhile, Vergeire said that the DOH is no longer recommending that schools be used as quarantine or isolation facilities.

“We do not support that schools be used as isolation and quarantine facilities anymore because unang-una gagamitin na po ito ng ating mga mag-aaral para sa pagbubukas ng eskwela (our students will already use them for the opening of the school 2022),” she said.

Vergeire said that based on current protocols, the government is already allowing home quarantine.

“Since we have allowed home quarantine, the need for this kind of outside or external quarantine and isolation facilities becomes less of importance for the government,” said Vergeire.

“Ang kailangan po natin ngayon (What we need now) would be that we can adequately monitor all of these people doing home-based isolation and quarantine,” she added.