SPEAKER Lord Allan Velasco has lauded a move to allow medical and nursing students to volunteer as vaccinators under the government’s National COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment and Vaccination Program.
Velasco said this development “provides a major boost to the government’s critical public health mission of inoculating 90 percent of the population against the deadly coronavirus.”
“By tapping medical and nursing students in the vaccination program, the government will rapidly expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, which is crucial to reaching the herd immunity threshold we need to return to normal life,” Velasco said.
Velasco has been advocating for COVID-19 vaccination even before the country began rolling out its first coronavirus vaccines last March, believing it is one of the most important tools to end the pandemic.
It is for this reason that he principally authored in the House of Representatives the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, which sought to expedite the purchase and administration of COVID-19 vaccines and to set up an indemnity fund to compensate individuals who will experience adverse effects after vaccination.
Velasco said then that the goal was “to make sure that every Filipino will have access to safe and effective vaccine, which is currently the best way for us to beat the virus and move forward.”
Also, as early as May this year, Velasco has been urging the government to tap nursing graduates who have yet to take the board examinations as complementary manpower amid the shortage of health workers in the country.
He said these “underboard” nurses can work under the supervision of a registered nurse or physician through a special arrangement with the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
Last Saturday, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) announced that post-graduate/undergraduate interns, clinical clerks and fourth-year medicine and nursing students can now become vaccinators and participate in the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program.
Under a joint memorandum signed by CHED and Department of Health, medical and nursing students can volunteer as health screeners, vaccinators, and pre/post vaccination monitors under the supervision of licensed physicians and nurses.