Representative of the target population (minors aged 12-17, seniors, healthcare workers) receive their anti-COVID-19 vaccines. (PN File Photo)

Residents of Puerto Princesa and municipalities in Palawan queued up early Monday morning at various anti-COVID vaccination sites as the government kicked off a 3-day “Bayanihan Bakunahan” drive.

The city and the municipalities in the province are targeting to inoculate around 80,000 residents — 39,000 for Puerto Princesa and 41,000 for Palawan — from today, November 29, to December 1.

The Department of Health’s (DOH) national immunization drive encourages Filipinos to participate in the “Bayanihan Bakunahan: Ligtas. Lakas. Buong Pinas.” through the “bayanihan” spirit.

Pessimistic target
In Puerto Princesa, health chief Dr. Ric Panganiban said their initial given target is to immunize 13,000 residents daily. However, reaching the number might not be realistic even if they want to vaccinate “as many people as possible” throughout the three days since “it is too large”.

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“’Yong 13,000 [a day], initial target na binigay [ng national government]. A few days ago, nag-downscale ang target ‘yong national [government]. Kami naman, ang gagawin natin dito sa many as we can. Kung mas marami doon, e di mas maganda,” he said in an interview on Monday.

“Hindi kaya, masyadong malaki [ang 13,000 a day]. Titingnan pa namin kasi ngayon medyo ok tayo, pero paano ‘yong sa mga baryo, iba doon. Una, yong punta ng tao — kung kakaunti lang ang pupunta, there is nothing we can do about it,” he added.

As early as 6 a.m., vaccine hopefuls flocked to the City Coliseum to receive their jabs. Panganiban added that an estimated 75,000 doses have been allocated by the Department of Health (DOH) regional office for the mass vaccination event.

Likewise, vaccination operations head Rocelyn Raymundo of the CHO said that immunizations will be done not only in the City Coliseum but also in malls and in schools to accommodate as many individuals as possible. The Puerto Princesa Covac also announced on its own page that there will be vaccinations in the MMG-Cooperative Hospital on Monday. For Tuesday and Wednesday, the City Coliseum will only be accepting second-dose recipients.

There will also be vaccination rollouts in the rural barangays even after the three-day event.

“Ang binigay ng national [government] na target is 13,000 per day. Dito sa City Coliseum today [Monday] 2,000 ang target pero baka mag-exceed,” he said in an interview on Monday.

“Ngayon, simultaneously, may vaccinations sa SM, Robinson’s, NCCC, Palawan National School, at Inagawan Sub-colony. Bukas naman [Tuesday] sa Northern Barangays naman kami, plus City Coliseum. Then sa Wednesday, south naman, sa Barangay Mangingisda, sa Inagawan Sub, plus sa City Coliseum,” he added.

Monday’s vaccination activity was intended solely for first dose recipients, while Tuesday and Wednesday will accommodate second dose recipients at the City Coliseum. To ramp up manpower needs, private doctors also pitched in to volunteer their services.

Provincial target

In the province, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) said its target is 13,878 individuals daily for the general population.

Dr. Faye Erika Labrador stated in an interview on Monday that the nationwide anti-COVID campaign can help speed up their goal of achieving herd immunity in Palawan.

According to her, roughly 24% of the province’s 70 percent target population has been immunized.

“Our target per day ay 13,878. Tulad ng other provinces ay target natin na mabakunahan ang mga adults, 12 to 17 years old and mga partially vaccinated,” Labrador said.

She said that certain towns, such as Kalayaan and Cagayancillo, have practically completed their vaccination campaign, while others, such as El Nido, Coron, Bataraza, and Roxas, are gearing up to achieve the target number of vaccinated residents.

“We hope na mas magkaroon pa ng mas maraming vaccinated individuals at malampasan natin ang ating target para matapos na ang vaccination dito sa Palawan. Kalayaan definitely tapos na at Cagayancillo is around 59 percent. [The other towns na malalaki] ay pinipilit din na mas marami pang mabakunahan,” she said.

DOH regional director Dr. Mario Baquilod said he is positive that with the three-day vaccination event, they will consume 2.5-million vaccine doses intended for the MIMAROPA regions.

“Mayroon tayong 2.5-million doses na pangbakuna. Nagtanong pa nga si Assistant Secretary [Dr. Maria Francia Laxamana] kung mauubos ba natin ito. Pero sa aking nakikita ngayon, talagang mauubos natin ang ating mga bakuna,” Baquilod said in a speech on Monday at the City Coliseum.

As of the Puerto Princesa Covac’s data on November 23, a total of 79,004 city residents are already fully vaccinated, while 35,389 are only first dose recipients. The city’s target population is 210,000 residents and at least 70 percent of this number must be fully vaccinated for the general public to attain herd immunity against COVID-19. Thus, around 147,000 individuals must be fully vaccinated in Puerto Princesa for herd immunity.

During National Vaccination Days, which was declared by President Rodrigo Duterte in early November via Proclamation No. 1253, aims to vaccinate around 9 million individuals nationwide within three days, according to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. The nationwide target was initially 15-million within three days, but the number was reduced due to a shortage in medical supplies such as syringes.

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