DepEd: Use public schools as vaccination centers only as last resort

DepEd: Use public schools as vaccination centers only as last resort

MANILA, Philippines — Public schools may be used as vaccination centers as the government rolls out its inoculation program against COVID-19, the Department of Education said Sunday, stressing however that they should be the last resort.

DepEd earlier said that the department would be of more help to the program by helping spread awareness and correct information about the vaccination program and about vaccines.

"Under our current policy, school buildings should only be used as a last resort if there is no other place. Existing policies with regard to use of DepEd facilities still apply to vaccination centers," Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a release. Under the Children's Emergency Relief and Protection Act, public schools are also supposed to be the last resort when designating areas as evacuation shelters.

Schools to be used as vaccination centers should be in a strategic location and have enough space, facilities and human resources to implement the vaccination program.

"We are ceaselessly attuning with the [Department of Health] and the local government units in determining the schools that are capable to meet their standards because we know that not all schools have the facilities needed for an immunization activity," Briones also said.

Schools eyed for pilot testing of in-person classes as well as those being used for health-related projects cannot be considered for use as vaccination centers.

"DepEd role is and has always been education. And education—having access to correct information, and having the ability to make correct decisions based on those available information—is as relevant as ever," she also said, adding the department is committed to helping the public make informed decisions on vaccination.

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