Palawan Governor Jose Chavez Alvarez on Live Network Press Briefing earlier today, September 28, 2021, confidently said that the province will reach herd immunity against COVID-19 by January next year instead of the earlier target which is December 2021.
Alvarez said that the main obstacles in reaching herd immunity in the island is the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to residents who live at the foothills and in the mountains especially the indigenous people where the vaccination teams not only need to visit and inoculate them but also bring goods and need to educate them first.
He also shared that in the Municipality of Bataraza, the mayor had to be vaccinated publicly to assure the residents that it is safe to receive the jab.
The island province is aiming to vaccinate about 600,000 of its residents to achieve herd immunity but only almost 100,000 have been inoculated so far, pushing back the expected date of reaching immunity from December 2021 to January 2022.
After being asked if the provincial government will be procuring its own vaccines, Governor Alvarez said that it is better to save money than to buy vaccines as it is a tedious process and the national government already bought numerous doses. He said he will just use the funds to provide the other needs of his constituents.
The provincial government is also aiming to inoculate those in tourism hotspots so that the tourism industry, which highly contributes to the gross income of the national government, can get back on track.
Meanwhile, an increase of COVID-19 cases is seen in the province of Palawan. As of September 27, 2021, the Provincial Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (PESU) has recorded a total of 917, 636 RT-PCR confirmed and 281 antigen reactive. The total cases logged is now at 6,807 where 5,716 have recovered and 174 died.