MABALACAT CITY— Students of the Mabalacat City College (MCC) have finally received their doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines on October 13, 2021 as the government pilots the national immunization program for students.

Dubbed “Padyak para sa Flexible Learning: Sama-samang Vaccination Program”, the activity aims to send a clear message on the importance of getting vaccinated which is an integral requisite to the national government’s move to re-open educational institutions to provide better learning conditions and academic opportunities for the youth.

In his statement, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Prospero De Vera III said that the initiative is an attempt “to make sure that the general population is vaccinated starting October 15”.

“We have increased volumes of vaccines that are now available, we should cover everyone. And more important, because we want to slowly open up our schools for a combination of online, offline, and face to face. We can only do that if we increase the level of safety for everyone in the schools,” said Chairman De Vera.

The CHED commissioner furthered that the prioritization of student-vaccinees is based on the degree or programs, especially courses “that need hands-on experience that is non-negotiable”.

To date, a total of 1,200 out of the 3,850 MCC students have been vaccinated against the deadly virus according to MCC President Michelle Aguilar-Ong. Some 400 students have already been inoculated prior to the ceremonial vaccination to provide the students an extra layer of protection for their on-the-job training.

Aguilar-Ong mentioned that the recipients are not only just students but also considered to be incoming Filipino workers who will be instrumental for the economic growth of the country post-pandemic.

Meanwhile, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said that the city has an ‘aggressive’ inoculation program as exemplified by the vaccination initiative dedicated for the students of MCC. The senator also lauded MCC President Michelle Aguilar-Ong and Mabalacat City Mayor Crisostomo Garbo for an ‘impressive’ college run by a local government.

For his part, Mayor Garbo reiterated his support to the students’ sector as he vows to strengthen the cooperation of his administration to the MCC in “doing what is best for the students and for the college”.

Garbo also said that the city has already reached 85% vaccination of its target population. The mayor also expressed his willingness to help neighboring LGUs or institutions who do not have the enough manpower to administer their vaccination program.

Also gracing the ceremonial vaccination rites is Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Chief Implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19.

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