As the number of COVID-19 cases increase in the province of Palawan
, the local government anticipates the arrival of vaccines in the Philippines by mid-February by drawing up a vaccine plan in Palawan
, specifically in its capital. In preparation for the doses, Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron also signed an executive order a month before the vaccines’ arrival that launched a vaccination plan in the city .
Under the vaccine plan in Palawan
, a budget of PhP500 million was set aside to purchase the vaccines, which are targeted to be administered to 70 percent of residents in Puerto Princesa. As for the COVID-19 vaccine brand, Bayron said that Pfizer will be out of the picture since Palawan does not have any facility that is capable of storing the vaccines at -70 to -90 degree Celsius .
However, as of February 10, Provincial Government Spokesperson Winston Arzaga stated that there are new hospitals in Palawan that have cold storage capacity for the vaccines, like the Bataraza District Hospital . The staff at these hospitals are also undergoing training to handle vaccines. Arzaga adds that they have already submitted the vaccination plan to the Department of Health (DOH) and Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) in the third week of January.
Under the plan, over 12,000 frontline workers from both private and government agencies will be assisting in the vaccination process. These frontline workers include volunteers, regional health units, provincial hospital staff, and the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Offices (MDRRMOs).
Meanwhile, the target number for the first batch of vaccinations in Palawan is 470,000. The first batch will include frontliners and selected qualified residents from different municipalities. Moreover, only people aged 18 to 59 years old will be inoculated. The first batch is expected to be vaccinated this 2021.
Arzaga urged the DOH to prioritize Palawan in vaccine distribution so that tourism can resume in the area, as this is expected to boost the economy.
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