Higher education institutions (HEIs) need to exert more effort during the three-day national vaccination drive despite increasing numbers of inoculated students and faculty members.
Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chair J. Prospero de Vera III said in a statement on Monday that HEI vaccination has gained momentum nationwide but “the whole higher education sector needs a more urgent and aggressive efforts, especially on November 29 to December 1 and December 15 to 17 in order to reach herd immunity”.
Since the “Padyak Para sa Flexible Learning: Sama-samang Vaccination” program was launched at the Mabalacat City College (MCC) and Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU) on October 13, de Vera noted a consistent increase in the number of HEIs that have launched vaccination for their faculty, staff, and students, either in their own facilities or by working closely with their local government units.
The latest weekly reports from HEIs across the country showed 82 percent of faculty members and employees have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, a 10-percent rise from October records.
CHED has tasked its regional offices to collect data on the number of vaccinated teaching and non-teaching personnel based on the submissions of regions.
As of November 25, all regions have reported 70 percent and above vaccination coverage among HEI staff.
Regions 3 (Central Luzon), 8 (Eastern Visayas), 11 (Davao), and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) also reported close to 90-percent HEI personnel vaccination rate.
Among students, de Vera said from 30 percent in October, the rate has risen to 46 percent so far, or 1,839,846 tertiary students from 2,013 HEIs.
“I have crisscrossed the country going from Quezon City University, Tarlac State University, Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in La Union, Pamantasan ng Cabuyao in Laguna, Palawan State University in Puerto Princesa, all the way to Davao Oriental State University, Notre Dame of Dadiangas University and DMC College Foundation, Inc. in Dipolog City to urge students to get vaccinated so we can slowly open their face-to-face classes,” he said.
De Vera added that many other HEIs have been holding simultaneous vaccination drives.
The top three regions with the highest reported percentage of vaccinated college students are Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) with 70.1 percent; CAR with 57.5 percent; and the National Capital Region, 54.2 percent.
For the three-day national vaccination drive, CHED targets approximately 320 HEIs, 9,459 HEI volunteers, and 211,208 students.
“With more than adequate supplies of vaccines, the challenge now is to increase vaccination centers and vaccinators so we can help reach the target of three million jabbed individuals during the three-day national vaccination program,” de Vera said.
The CHED and the Department of Health have released Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2021-003, or the Interim Guidelines on the Voluntary Participation of Postgraduate/Undergraduate Interns, Clinical Clerks, and Fourth-Year Nursing Students in the Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment and Vaccination Program, to allow tertiary students’ participation. (PNA)