Senator Win Gatchalian backs the government’s plan to establish COVID-19 vaccination sites in schools, saying the move would help increase COVID-19 vaccination coverage among minors and open more schools for face-to-face classes.
During the President’s Talk to the People on May 3, Presidential Adviser for COVID-19 Response Secretary Vince Dizon reported that National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. already gave instructions to make COVID-19 vaccines available in all schools. There are 10 million doses in stock for children aged 5 to 11, the official added.
The vaccine czar earlier said that accelerating pediatric vaccination is part of the government’s Last Mile Challenge in the COVID-19 inoculation program. As of April 17, only more than 2.6 million or 18.59% of children aged 5 to 11 have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In the 12-17 age group, more than 9.9 million or 86.51% have at least one dose.
The Department of Education (DepEd) also reported that there are 26,344 schools conducting face-to-face classes—25,668 or 56.89% of public schools and 676 or 5.47% of private schools. More than 5.9 million public school learners are attending in-person classes, while there are 226,991 learners participating from private schools.
“Mahalagang mapaigting natin ang pakikilahok ng ating mga paaralan sa pagbabakuna ng mga kabataan laban sa COVID-19. Kung mababakunahan natin ang mas maraming kabataan, makakapagbukas pa tayo ng mas maraming mga paaralan para sa face-to-face classes,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture
Gatchalian reiterated that the prolonged lack of face-to-face classes will result in both economic and education scarring. According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the country is losing around P22 trillion for two years of face-to-face closure.
According to a joint report released this year by UNICEF, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Bank titled “Where are We on Education Recovery?”, less than 15% of 10-year old children in the Philippines can read or understand a simple story. This translates to a learning poverty of more than 85%.