CHED: Med, nursing students can be vaccinators for nat'l vax program

CHED: Med, nursing students can be vaccinators for nat'l vax program
Filipinos below 19 years of age receive candies, chocolate, drinks and bread while listening to doctors at the monitoring center after getting vaccinated for COVID-19 at the Marikina Sports Complex on Nov. 4, 2021.
The STAR / Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — Interns, clinical clerks, and fourth-year medicine and nursing students can now become vaccinators in the coronavirus task force's national vaccination program, the Commission on Higher Education said Sunday.

This comes after the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Health released Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2021-003 providing guidelines for participating higher education institutions, hospitals with National Internship Program and all governance levels participating in the National COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment and Vaccination Program.

In a statement sent to reporters, the CHED confirmed that students can volunteer as health screeners, vaccinators, and pre/post-vaccination monitors under the supervision of licensed physicians and nurses.

“The government is now fast-tracking the vaccination roll-out as more COVID-19 vaccines arrive in the country. Yesterday and for the 2nd time, the country breached the 1 million daily target for vaccination. As we increase the number of vaccination sites and increase daily targets, these additional vaccinators and support staff are critical to achieving herd immunity in the next two months,” said CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera III.

The Philippines is slated to see a limited return to classrooms starting Monday, November 15, which would mark the first time since in-person learning will resume since the pandemic hit in 2020. 

As it currently stands, 61 higher education institutions are now functioning as vaccination centers all over the country.

“While more than 1 million college students have already been vaccinated, this is only about 30% of the target number. We need to rapidly vaccinate more students,” De Vera said.

The post-graduate/undergraduate interns, clinical clerks, and fourth-year nursing students who will volunteer will be trained and supervised by health professionals.

Under the JMC's guidelines, any volunteer work and completed number of hours will be credited in the students' internship and will be certified by the head of the vaccination team in the particular vaccination site where they rendered their services.

The voluntary participation of these students in vaccination sites will be implemented regardless of the area’s risk classification as categorized by the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases.

All CHED regional offices have been instructed to work with higher education institutions that have medicine and nursing programs to produce an inventory of student-volunteer vaccinators and work with the DOH and local governments to assign these student volunteers to the various vaccination sites.

To date, health authorities have recorded 2.81 million coronavirus cases in the Philippines. 

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