Much as Puerto Princesa City health authorities would want to scale up its vaccination drive, they have had to contend with a slow pace because of the limited vaccine supply.

Dr. Ric Panganiban, head of the Puerto Princesa City COVID-19 Vaccination (CoVac) program, said in a phone interview last week (April 23) that the city’s supplies remained highly dependent on the allocation from the national government.

“Kahit naman gusto natin madaliin, o bilisan, hindi naman natin magawa kasi wala tayong control sa pagdating ng bakuna,” Panganiban said.

Only 296 city residents, mostly comprised of medical frontliners, have completed the second-round dose of the anti-COVID jab, based on the city’s CoVac bulletin as of April 23.

Meanwhile, 2,667 individuals have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 1,288 of whom got Sinovac, while 1,379 from AstraZeneca.

Previously, city mayor Lucilo Bayron allocated around P500 million to bankroll the city government’s vaccination program, targeting to inoculate at least 70 percent of the local populace to achieve herd immunity against the virus.

To achieve this, at least 178,581 need to be vaccinated from a total of 255,116 city residents, based on the 2015 census from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), aiming to vaccinate at least 500 individuals on a daily basis.

However, the vaccines purchased by the city government’s money from British-Swedish company AstraZeneca were not expected to arrive until September this year.

The city’s COVID-19 vaccine still relied on the allocations from the Department of Health (DOH).

Last week, 6,400 COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Puerto Princesa carried by Cebu Pacific. So far, only about 20,000 jabs were allocated by the national government for Puerto Princesa and Palawan.