Tourism workers in Palawan finally get the jab

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has started inoculating tourism workers on the island province of Palawan in order to protect them from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron; testing czar, National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 Deputy Chief Implementer Secretary Vince Dizon; Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat; and Councilor Matthew Mendoza oversee the tourism worker vaccination program at Hotel Centro. (Photo from the Department of Tourism)

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and testing czar, National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 Deputy Chief Implementer Secretary Vince Dizon led the ceremonial vaccination on Tuesday, August 3.

According to Puyat, the agency targets to inoculate some 31,000 tourism workers from the premier tourism destinations of Coron, El Nido, San Vicente, and the City of Puerto Princesa under the program.

“Today marks a milestone in the DOT’s pandemic recovery program as we begin the vaccination of tourism frontliners in four key destinations around Palawan island. It is crucial that we continue the swift rolling out of the national vaccination program in order to prevent the spread of the Delta variant,” Puyat said in her speech.

An initial 4,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines have arrived in the Palawan, reports said. These will be used to vaccinate the iinitial batches of tourism workers.

But the tourism chief assured local folk that more vaccine doses will arrive in the following weeks even as tourism destinations like Palawan have been welcoming local travelers.

A hotel employee in El Nido, Palawan receives his first jab during the vaccination of tourism workers carried out by the DOT, NTF, DOH and the LGU of Palawan. (Photo from the Department of Tourism)

The DOT had requested for a total of 62,000 doses; 30,000 of these will be allocated for Puerto Princesa City, which employs nearly 15,000 tourism workers; while the remaining 32,000 vaccine doses will be for the three municipalities of Palawan.

“Vaccinating our tourism frontliners will provide protection, peace of mind, and the confidence to travel as we boost recovery and restore livelihoods by promoting domestic tourism. The escalating community quarantines is another roadblock in our progress, but it is a necessary and temporary setback to safeguard the public,” she said.

Puyat also urged all eligible tourism stakeholders to get vaccinated, saying protected tourism workers will boost travelers' confidence and will gradually result to the restoration of jobs and revenue that were lost because of the pandemic.

Even at the height of the pandemic, Palawan continues to be regarded as one of the tourism gems of the world.

In 2020, it gained a citation from the prestigious Travel + Leisure company as the world's best island, garnering a rating of 94.83 out of 100.