MANILA, Oct 5 (Mabuhay) –Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire on Tuesday repeated her call for parents to have their children vaccinated, amid reported COVID-19 infections upon the resumption of face-to-face classes.

Children playing in the park (MNS photo)

Vergeire made the remark after the Department of Education (DepEd) confirmed receiving reports of COVID-19 cases in several schools, saying that it is “expected.”

Vergeire, however, said that they could not provide data yet on how many students have been infected with coronavirus since returning to school as they are still consolidating their records with DepEd.

She also backed the DepEd’s statement that COVID-19 cases are expected in schools since the pandemic is still prevalent, but stressed that what is important is that the children do not acquire severe or critical diseases.

“Meron pong transmission na nangyayari pero napuputol naman agad because there are surveillance or safety officers in schools. Namo-monitor nila and as soon as they identify a patient or a learner na may sakit, pinapauwi or nire-refer na nila sa local government health unit para ma-manage na, and mino-monitor ang close contact,” she said in a press conference.

(COVID-19 transmission is happening, but it is interrupted immediately because of the surveillance or safety officers in schools who monitor the situation. As soon as they identify a patient or a learner who is sick, they send them home or refer them to the local government health unit to be managed, and they also monitor their close contacts.)

Vergeire reminded the parents and guardians that the primary defense of the students against COVID-19 is still vaccination.

“Atin po sanang ma-encourage ang ating mga magulang na pabakunahan na ang ating mga anak [we are encouraging parents to have their children vaccinated], so that they will be protected,” she said.

“Ang pagbabakuna talaga ang susi para magtuloy-tuloy ang ating face-to-face classes.”

Before the schools reopened for in-person classes on August 22, DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said only 19% of learners were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, based on the DepEd Learner Information System.

Currently, both students and teachers may participate in face-to-face classes despite their vaccination status. (MNS)