More than 30 doctors from the Palawan Medical Society (PMS) have pledged their services to Puerto Princesa City’s ongoing vaccination efforts. They will serve as the primary monitors for vaccinated individuals during their 30-minute observation period.
Their services may speed up the current inoculation rate in the city, which is falling behind its target of 500 jabs per day by only reaching up to 300 individuals a day.
In an online meeting last Thursday, Mayor Lucilo Bayron discussed with members of the Palawan Medical Society how medical practitioners in the city could help speed up the vaccination process. Around 35 doctors volunteered to serve as medical observers to already vaccinated individuals.
“Around 40 plus ang nag-attend sa meeting, and nakita ko sa group chat namin, nasa 34 o 35 na nagpalista ng intention nilang tumulong. Because hindi naman kailangan na doctor ang nag-aadminister ng bakuna, which is may tao naman kami para doon, sila ‘yong mag-oobserve sa mga nabakunahan na,” City Health Officer Dr. Ric Panganiban said in an interview Saturday.
“For the meantime, deployed muna sila sa [City] Coliseum kasi iyon pa lang ang vaccination site natin,” he added.
Bayron earlier in the week made a call for assistance to all medical practitioners in the city to provide their services in the “race against time” to vaccinate city residents amidst the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases in the city. The surge has severely crippled the city’s healthcare sector since accommodation establishments have been converted into hospitals to care for patients of varying levels of COVID-19 infections.
Panganiban clarified that the doctors will be providing pro bono services to the city government.
Aside from the lack of licensed medical doctors to oversee vaccinated individuals, a limited supply of vaccines is hindering the city’s efforts to achieve herd immunity by reaching 180,000 individuals. The city government’s vaccination woes were further exacerbated after the British embassy in the Philippines announced that the city’s placed orders for doses of the UK-based Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines could not be expedited due to high global demand.