Photo courtesy of PPC Covac Program

Despite the plea to expedite delivery, anti-COVID jabs purchased by the city government from Oxford-AstraZeneca will not arrive in Puerto Princesa until the third quarter of the year.

Daniel Pruce, British Ambassador to the Philippines, in a letter addressed to city mayor Lucilo Bayron on Tuesday, May 11, said the deliveries cannot be expedited as requested because the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company is facing a global demand.

“I am afraid deliveries cannot be expedited. And, unfortunately, the supply for 2021 has been fully allocated and AstraZeneca is unable to accommodate new orders at this time,” Pruce wrote in response to Bayron’s request.

Bayron last week sought the assistance of the British Ambassador for an “urgent intervention” to fast-track the delivery of 200,000 doses of anti-COVID vaccines purchased earlier this year.

“Puerto Princesa City is currently experiencing an alarming outbreak and surge of COVID-19 cases. [We] earnestly request your kind assistance and urgent intervention for the expeditious delivery of the 200,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines which we ordered and have already paid the first milestone payment,” wrote Bayron in his letter.

The city has completed the vaccination of some 1,901 individuals of Wednesday, way below its target of inoculating 180,000 to achieve herd immunity.

Utilizing the limited supplies received from the Covax facility of the national government, the city had also vaccinated 5,638 city residents with their first dose, using Sinovac and AstraZeneca. The pace of vaccination is currently around 300 individuals per day.

This was below the initial target of 500 individuals being inoculated which was set prior to the rollout of the city’s vaccination program.

Bayron, however, was hopeful that the healthcare system, which was already at the brink of collapse with only manned two doctors throughout all the quarantine facilities, would hold the fort until after the vaccines arrive.

“May imibitasyon sa lahat ng mga doctors na nakatira sa lungsod upang pagtulungan ng mga doctors ang mabilis na pagbabakuna na tinaguriang ‘race against time’,” the City Mayor’s Office wrote on Facebook post on Thursday.

Puerto Princesa remained to be hard hit with 464 active COVID-19 cases, from a total of 1,319 confirmed cases, with 829 recoveries and 29 deaths, excluding the suspect patients, as of Thursday morning.

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.