(PN File Photo)

Regular anti-COVID immunizations have resumed in Puerto Princesa following a short break during the first four days of January, with an initial emphasis on second dose recipients.

The Covac team has also resumed booster doses at Robinson’s Mall, although exclusively to senior citizens at the moment.

Dr. Ric Panganiban, the city’s health officer, stated that due to a lack of staff, they are unable to coordinate booster vaccines for all people who received their first round during the last three to six months.

“Actually nakapag-start na tayo ulit ng booster. Pero kahapon (January 4), ngayon (January 5), at saka bukas (January 6), nag-concentrate muna tayo sa second dose. Pero pagdating ng Friday, meron na po ulit [booster],” Panganiban said in a live briefing on Wednesday.

“Ang A1, karamihan na ay nabigyan na. Sinunod natin doon ang A2 category, ang ating mga senior citizens. Kung tutuusin, baka napapanood ninyo sa ibang LGUs, puwede na talaga lahat bigyan. Kaya lang, hindi talaga nating puwedeng pagsabay-sabayin. Magpa-prioritize tayo,” he added.

Panganiban stated that they cannot accommodate around 100,000 fully-vaccinated individuals for boosters yet, especially now that they are currently vaccinating minors aged 12-17 and doing vaccinations in rural barangays.

“Hindi namin kayang pagsabay-sabayin ang mahigit 100,000 katao na bigyan ng booster. Uunahin muna natin ang second dose, kasi ito, napakarami, nasa 22,000 ang kailangan nating balikan,” he added.

He also explained that even though the national government has approved vaccinations for minors aged 5-11, they are still waiting for official guidelines before rolling out vaccinations for the age group.

“’Yan ay inaantay natin na ibaba ang guidelines ng Department of Health. Sa ngayon wala pa, pero any time soon, magsisimula tayo ng 5-11 years old,” he said.

Panganiban also stated that 50 percent of target recipients in Puerto Princesa City have already been fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 and that the Covac team is doing their best to reach the highest number possible. He added that vaccine supply remains sufficient and that there is considerably less vaccine hesitancy among the public.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.