The city government has drawn up a COVID-19 vaccination (CoVac) plan aiming for the inoculation of 200,000 residents within the next two quarters of 2021, utilizing vaccine supplies that will initially be provided by the national government to all local government units (LGUs), including those it has directly purchased from the suppliers of Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines.

A copy of the city government’s CoVac plan submitted to the Department of Health (DOH) and obtained by Palawan News from a city government source also indicated that the initial plan will entail the vaccination of front line health workers and uniformed personnel.

The Palawan News source explained that the initial vaccine supplies that will come from the national government will be “initially limited to frontline health workers and uniformed personnel”.

A separate source from the DOH told Palawan News that the MIMAROPA region is anticipating a total of initial 100,000 doses to be distributed among its provinces and cities.

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Based on the city government’s plan, those who will be administering the provision of the vaccines will be working “non-stop for at least 400 days” aiming to vaccinate between 70 to 100 individuals per day, running until the second half of 2022.

Among the identified vaccination hubs under the plan are Ospital Ng Palawan (ONP), Adventist Hospital Palawan (AHP), MMG-PPC Cooperative Hospital, ACE Medical Center Palawan, and Padre Pio Medical and Surgical Associates Inc.

The facilities were identified as they conformed with the DOH guideline, which requires at least two medical doctors, two nurses, two midwives, and emergency equipment, on standby in anticipation of COVID-19 vaccine adverse effects for some individuals.

Training for vaccinators

The healthcare workers in Puerto Princesa that will participate in the vaccination drive have already completed a two-day training for trainers of the COVID-19 vaccine immunization program last week, January 26 and 27.

The program was hosted by DOH officials as they prepare for the “pre-implementation” phase, which was to identify key areas and responsibilities to “achieve cost-effectively and time-efficient” vaccination program.

Cold-chain storage

The Palawan News source explained that from the manufacturers, the vaccines would first be delivered to the DOH facility in Manila, and then transferred to the Center for Health Development – CHD MIMAROPA office.

The regional hubs, with direct communication and cooperation with the local government, would arrange flights to carry the vaccines in Puerto Princesa.

“The vaccine is only as good as its logistics. Out the cold chain, they are technically zero percent effective,” the source said.

The COVID-19 vaccines would temporarily be stored in City Health Office, where the city mayor Lucilo Bayron initially said would boost the refrigerators or freezers.

During the entire delivery run, initially supported by cold chain capabilities from ordinary refrigerators and ice bags, the vaccines must be sustained within the cold storage requirement between -20 degrees Celsius up to +8 degrees Celsius.

Prioritization

Each dose would be labeled and coded, and specifically allocated to a certain individual. DOH officials also requested the local officials to come up with a “back-up” system, in case a certain individual would not be available during his schedule, so as not to let the vaccine go to waste once it has been opened.

Topping the list are the health care workers, trailed by essential workers and uniformed personnel. Part of the priority group is the teachers, workers from the transportation, tourism, agriculture, and food sectors.

Also part of the priority group is the indigent senior citizens, indigent individuals, and other immune-compromised persons, such as those with high-risk of hospitalization, and pregnant women.

AstraZeneca and Moderna

The city government had recently signed a deal with British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and is hoping to seal the deal for 100,000 doses more from US-based company Moderna.

However, the estimated date of delivery would be in the second half of 2021.

 

 

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.