BACK TO SCHOOL PREPS. School guidance coordinator Jennifer Paz Fausto (left) checks the admission requirements for transfer students at the Salitran Elementary School, Barangay Salitran 2, Dasmariñas City, Cavite on Thursday (Aug. 18, 2022). The latest data from the Department of Education showed that more than 21.2 million students have enrolled for School Year 2022-2023, which begins on August 22. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Aug 19 (Mabuhay) —

Only 19% of learners are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Department of Education (DepEd) said Friday, three days before the start of School Year 2022-2023.

“Sa learners, ang vax rate natin [among learners, our vax rate] nationwide is 19%,” said DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa at a press briefing, adding the figure was from the Department of Health (DOH).

Poa said the low figure is largely due to the government’s vaccination program against COVID-19 being non-mandatory.

“Of course we would like to have 100% vaccination rate but the truth of the matter is the vaccination program of the government is not mandatory,” he said when asked if the low vaccination rate among children is a threat when classes resume on August 22.

On the other hand, vaccination rate among teaching and non-teaching personnel is at 92%, Poa said.

The DepEd earlier said it will conduct mobile vaccination in schools to increase vaccination rate among children.

Poa, however, said such effort will still be coupled with counselling to encourage kids to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I cannot give you an exact timeline but we are coordinating this effort with the Department of Health,” he said.

The Philippine government started its COVID-19 vaccination program for children aged 5 to 11 years old in November last year.  (MNS)