MALOLOS BULACAN — National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. emphasized anew the urgency of vaccinating students, teachers, and other school personnel against COVID-19 as the country prepares for the resumption of face-to-face classes.
During the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 held here at the Malolos Bulacan Convention Center on Wednesday, February 9, Galvez said that inoculating students and other members of the academic community will ensure their safety when schools finally reopen.
“Dapat bakunado kasi ang mga unvaccinated ang tinutuluyan ng mga variant. So, as a general rule, ang sabi po namin ni Secretary “Liling” (Briones) at ng IATF, as much as possible, kailangan talaga ‘yung mga papasok ng face-to-face ay ‘yung mga bakunado,” Galvez told the reporters in an interview at the eent.
“Ganoon din po ‘yung mga teacher at school personnel ay nirerequire natin na at least 100 percent bakunado,” Galvez added.
The vaccine czar also sees the need for the national government to impose a “strong mandate” on vaccination in the future once the majority of children are vaccinated and the country already has a bigger supply inventory of the COVID-19 jabs.
“Maybe in the near future, magkakaroon tayo ng strong mandate na babakunahan ‘yung mga bata. So ‘yun lang ginagawa natin na step by step kasi sa ngayon, konti pa lang ang nababakunahan and we cannot mandate them na talagang lahat bakunado,” he said.
“Pag nagkaroon na ng opening of classes, as much as possible, ‘yung pupunta lang sa face-to-face are all vaccinated. Yung hindi vaccinated ibig sabihin doon sila sa online learning,” Galvez explained.
Citing President Duterte’s message on Monday during his televised public briefing, he said, “Yung mga ayaw magpabakuna, ‘wag niyo na isama ang mga bata dahil ang mga bata sila ang future Filipino generation that will carry on our task and mission.”
“Pangalawa, kung mahal mo ang bayan mo, kung mahal mo ang pamilya mo, magpabakuna na kayo,” Galvez stressed.
Over 8.7 million children have already been vaccinated worldwide, wherein there have been no reported deaths attributable to the vaccines.
For his part, Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando said he issued an executive order to ensure that all students and teachers in the province are fully vaccinated before the resumption of face-to-face classes.
“Simula pa noon nagkaroon na tayo ng [executive order] na hindi muna pwede mag-open ang klase nang hindi fully vaccinated ang mga bata, at ito po ay sinangayunan rin ng mga magulang. Ang mahalaga dito ay proteksyon ng kalusugan ng ating mga anak,” Fernando said.
A total of 109 public schools in the province of Bulacan are set to start their face-to-face classes on February 21.
“‘Yan ‘yung mga fully vaccinated na mga highschool na may edad na 12 to 17 pero itong 5 to 11, pinag-usapan na namin ito ng aming DepEd head ng province of Bulacan. Sinabi ko sa kanila na sa elementary kailangan maghanda muna sa pagbubukas ng klase,” the governor said.
“Bukod doon, ‘yung mga magulang ay sumasang-ayon sa ating in-issue na executive order [na] pwedeng magbukas ‘yung mga klase na fully vaccinated [ang mga estudyante. Once fully vaccinated naman, ay pwede na magbukas. Kailangan lang protektahan natin ang mga bata,” he added
A total of 4,323,648 vaccine doses have been administered in Bulacan. Of this figure, 2,017,890 were given as first doses, 1,999,692 as second doses, while 303,066 booster shots were administered.
On Tuesday, Education Secretary Leonor Briones expressed her full support for the ‘Resbakuna Kids’ program which is in line with the efforts of the DepEd to expand face-to-face classes.
“We cannot move to new forms, to new ways of teaching unless our children are safe, unless they are healthy, unless they are also happy with the learning experience,” Briones said.
According to the data of National Vaccination Operations Center as of February 9, 12:00 PM, 26,363 children aged 5 to 11 nationwide had been vaccinated with a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in 40 vaccination sites.###