COVID-19 VAX. A young girl is inoculated during the start of the 12 to 17 age group vaccination roll out at the Angel Salazar Memorial General Hospital in San Jose de Buenavista, Antique on Nov. 5, 2021. Department of Education Division of Antique Supt. Felisa Beriong on Wednesday (Feb. 2, 2022) encouraged parents to let their children aged 5 to 11 years old avail of the Covid-19 vaccination once it is launched in Antique. (PNA file photo by Annabel Consuelo J. Petinglay)

SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – The Department of Education (DepEd) in Antique is encouraging parents to let their learners aged 5 to 11 years old avail of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination.

“The DepEd Antique cannot require school kids to have their Covid-19 vaccination, but we can strongly recommend it,” said Antique Schools Division Superintendent Felisa Beriong in an interview on Wednesday.

While the inoculation for the said age group will start only in Metro Manila on February 4, Beriong said they are already coordinating with the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) as part of their preparations.

She said submitting their eligible children to the vaccination will give them protection. Pfizer vaccine will be administered to children in this age group.

Data from the division showed that Antique has 11, 675 learners enrolled in kindergarten and 76,970 in elementary grades.

In a separate interview Evelyn Remo, DepEd Antique chief for School Governance and Administration, said that 6,072 children aged 12 to 17 years old have been vaccinated in the province as per DepEd Region 6 (Western Visayas) Vaccination Status Report as of January 26.

“There are 1,455 who had their first dose and 4,617 who had their second dose,” she said.

Remo said that since 50,000 children aged 12-17 have been enrolled this school year 2021-2022 in the province, then 43,928 are not yet vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Beriong said teachers who are not yet vaccinated "are advised not to report to their schools unless they have their reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (Rt-PCR) negative result to show."

Unvaccinated teachers are working from home in checking their learners’ modules. (PNA)