800 Mabalacat City College students receive COVID-19 shots

About 800 students of Mabalacat City College (MCC) received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson J. Prospero De Vera III said this is part of President Duterte’s instruction to make sure the general population is vaccinated starting October 15, with the increased volume of vaccines available in the country. 

“This is the first leg of the caravan that we are doing to do vaccination for students and we’re happy that the local governments and the universities are on board, because we can only successfully vaccinate them if the local government helps and if the schools also help to bring the students for vaccination. We want to vaccinate everyone because that is the correct way to do things for us as a country to handle the pandemic,” he said. 

De Vera also stressed the activity is important as the government wants to slowly open up schools for a combination of online, offline, and face-to-face classes. 

“When there is a high level of vaccination, the assurance of an additional level of safety is there so that we can now start to reopen our schools slowly. We can only successfully do that if we increase the level of safety for everyone in the schools, not just among faculty and employees, but among students as well,” he said. 

With this, the official cited the need for the public to understand that the higher education sector is a driver of the economy, countering beliefs that because classes are online, the educational structure is not working. 

“Education is continuous but we have to revive the schools because they are part of the economic structure of the local governments. The school has ancillary services such as food and transportation, and thrives on so many businesses around it. When we slowly open them up, we also open up the businesses connected to the schools,” De Vera said. 

Meanwhile, MCC President Michelle Ong said vaccinating the students is crucial because in the midst of the pandemic, they want them to be a strong force in the economic recovery especially that it is the closest to Clark Development Corporation. 

“The 800 vaccinees today make up the second batch. Last month, we already vaccinated 400 on-the-job-trainee students. We are also currently retrofitting our campus because we want to launch our OJT bubble for our hotel and restaurant management program. We also want to start our limited face-to-face classes in February in time for the second semester,” Ong said. 

She added that with the delivery of the vaccine shots that are coming from both the national and the city government, they are eyeing to vaccinate the remainder of the 3,850 students this month. 

Ong also said that the doors of MCC are for any local college and even the Department of Education if ever they will be given a go signal to do their vaccination, since MCC already has a system in place. 

Meanwhile, reports from CHED showed the vaccination rate for faculty in the majority of the higher education institutions (HEIs) nationwide is way above the threshold at 70 to 80 percent. 

Out of the close to 1,500 HEIs that have reported to CHED, De Vera said 53% of them have more than 75% vaccination rate already.