The city government this week conducted a simulation of its mass vaccination plan for COVID-19 immunization at the City Coliseum, an event that was largely an exercise intended to practice internal systems and procedures involving its medical personnel and frontliners.

The exercise is part of what has been on top of the agenda of the city administration since making a move to be among the first LGUs to initiate a direct purchase of vaccines from pharma companies that have developed their vaccines for emergency use.

According to Palawan News reporting, the city’s vaccine supply that will be deployed for its rollout sometime late this month or early March will most likely be those that will come from the national government, since the delivery of its own vaccine purchase will not be forthcoming until around the 2nd quarter.

There has been no information coming from the national government or the inter-agency task force (IATF) on how many vaccines will be allocated to each of the provinces but Palawan News sources within the Department of Health’s regional office said they are expecting a rather small volume of around 100,000 doses for the entire MIMAROPA region during the first wave of distribution. If true, this indicates that Palawan’s vaccination drive cannot be expected to go on full throttle until much later this year at the earliest, given the preparations involved. This is an important consideration that needs to be validated and officially verified to allow various sectors of the community to properly calibrate their own plans and activities.

The city’s vaccination drill is a good thing because it allows policy makers to take a step back and evaluate not only their own capabilities and preparedness but also to better appreciate the significance of factors that are not within their control. Given these extraneous circumstances, a vaccination plan is not a no-brainer. One important consideration, among many others, is prioritization or who should be vaccinated first.

On the plus side, the city of Puerto Princesa should be in a better place to engage its own stakeholders in forward planning, considering the larger objective of opening up the local economy and reviving its stagnant tourism industry.

The initiatives being taken by the city government for its vaccination rollout should be followed closely by other local government units particularly the towns that have had to struggle with their own COVID-19 response. There should be useful learnings and realizations to take away from that.