SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian is urging the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 and local government units (LGUs) to work with schools in rolling out the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11.
For the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, working with schools would help in efficiently identifying, organizing, and monitoring learners who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, especially with the planned expansion of limited face-to-face classes this month.
The Department of Education (DepEd) earlier said that vaccinated learners will be given preference for in-person learning.
Gatchalian emphasized the importance of reopening schools and resuming face-to-face classes, noting that the lack of in-person learning would cause scarring in both education and the economy.
Vaccinating eligible learners against COVID-19 can help mitigate the risk of infection and boost parents’ confidence in sending their children back to school, the lawmaker added.
According to DepEd’s Planning Service, some 14 million learners aged 5 to 11 are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
NTF Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. earlier said that the government plans to inoculate 15.56 million children in this age group.
For the initial rollout, 24 hospital and non-hospital facilities will be designated as vaccination sites in the National Capital Region.
The senator added that all eligible learners should receive their COVID-19 vaccines especially since the DepEd eyes School Year 2022-2023 as the new normal.
Under this phase, face-to-face instruction is institutionalized as part of the overall learning delivery system amidst the pandemic.
“Napapanahon ang pagbabakuna sa mga batang 5 hanggang 11 ang edad, lalo na’t patuloy ang ating pagsisikap na palawigin ang ating face-to-face classes. Mahalaga ito upang maprotektahan mula sa hawaan at pagkakasakit, hindi lamang ang ating mga mag-aaral kundi pati na rin ang kanilang mga guro at mga pamilyang nakapalibot sa kanila,” said Gatchalian.