The provincial government plans to utilize the new hospitals it had established in various parts of Palawan as vaccination hubs once the national government delivers its share from the vaccines being sourced by the administration.
Winston Arzaga, provincial government spokesperson, told Palawan News the new hospitals have the cold storage capacity needed to accommodate the vaccines that their manufacturers require and that they have already trained personnel for vaccine handling.
“We are the only province in MIMAROPA with cold chain storage. Ongoing din ang training ng ating mga health workers natin. We believe that we are ready in terms of medical facilities and personnel. Palawan is the only province na mayroong ganitong facilities,” Arzaga said.
He added that contrary to the earlier report of the DILG pointing out that Palawan has no vaccination plan submitted to their regional office yet, they already submitted their plan during the third week of January to the Department of Health (DOH) and directly to Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) head Carlito Galvez, Jr.
“Nakasubmit na tayo, sa DOH MIMAROPA at kay Secretary Galvez. Nandoon nakalagay sa plan ang pictures ng mga facilities natin, lahat nakalagay doon,” Arzaga said.
He also said there are 12,704 frontline workers from both government and private agencies to assist in the administration of the vaccines, including regional health unit staff, COVID volunteer health workers, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Offices (MDRRMOs), and provincial hospital staff.
Arzaga also pointed out that the provincial government has made a pitch to the national government to prioritize Palawan in its vaccine distribution, citing the province’s contribution to the national economy in terms of its tourism potential.
“Kung titingnan mo sa kaso ay napakakunti sa Palawan kaya bakit dapat i-prioritize? Ang Palawan ay malaki ang nabibigay sa ekonomiya ng bansa, sa ngayon ay sobrang bagsak ng ekonomiya natin. Kung i-prioritize ng national government ang Palawan at mabakunahan lahat ay hindi malabong babalik ang sigla ng turismo, welcome ang lahat kasi we are all vaccinated. Then, kung bumalik na ang sigla ng turismo, ang ating contribution sa ekonomiya ng bansa ay babalik at unti-unting babangon,” Arzaga said.
Arzaga said that first batch for the vaccination program are the first 470,000 Palaweños aging between 18 to 59.
“Lahat kasama na d’yan, frontliners man ‘yan or hindi basta pasok sa 18 to 59 years old. Kukuha tayo by municipalities pero para maging qualified pa rin ay may assessment pa rin kung sino ang makakatanggap kasi 1st batch palang ito. Hopefully ang first batch ay this 2021 then ‘yong mga hindi nabakunahan ay 2nd batch naman, so ganon lang,” he said.