At a time when the vaccine against Covid-19 is in short supply, the designated Secretary of Health, Carlos Mellado, confirmed that 200 doses of the coveted drug were lost in a center due to a refrigeration problem.
“I would not like to say the center. When they received the vaccines, the person who received the vaccine box saw that there was like melted ice and what they did was put them in the refrigerator. When the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) was consulted, the recommendation was that they should not be used, ”Mellado reported.
He stated that it is the only incident of damaged vaccines on the Island and that there is a state where there were 2,500 doses that were lost. In this case it was Moderna vaccines.
“Corrective action was taken, we are working with the CDC and the center, which are doing a very good job. These are things that can happen with the handling of a new vaccine that is complicated. There are some centers that Moderna can handle and others that Pfizer can handle, and that limits us, ”he added.
To date, Puerto Rico has received 270,750 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, of which 221,426 have been distributed, Mellado reported. On the Island, over 136,000 people have been vaccinated.
Mellado made the expressions at the conclusion of the cabinet meeting with Governor Pedro Pierluisi. During the conclave, the adjutant general of the National Guard, José J. Reyes, confirmed that there is a shortage of the vaccine. Both insisted that they hope to increase the number of doses, as announced by the president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.
“The inventory is limited, the last two weeks 41,000 have arrived. The governor has said his priority is people over 65 and the Department of Education. We continue to vaccinate first responders and today (yesterday) we began with a trial in the three centers of the Department of Education and we are going to vaccinate 100 teachers and employees, ”Reyes indicated.
He recalled that they established an appointment system for teachers and other school employees, both from private and public schools. The expectation is to vaccinate 300 daily in each of the eight centers that will be enabled to vaccinate teaching staff.
Even with the beginning of the teachers’ vaccination, Mellado could not specify when the face-to-face classes will begin in the public education system.
“We want a timely plan to open the schools. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that depression in children has increased because they are not in school. We do not have clear statistics on cases of abuse. Teachers are an important tool to identify that, ”said Mellado. “If you ask me when the schools are going to open, I can’t say,” he replied.
For her part, the nominated Secretary of Education, Elba L. Aponte, said that they conducted a survey to find out how many of the 40,000 employees of the agency wanted to be vaccinated. He stated that of the 33,000 who responded, only 2,000 indicated that they would not be vaccinated.
“The percentage of people who want to be vaccinated is high,” he said. “The call is that everyone who can get vaccinated, do so,” he said.
Budget greater than current
On the other hand, the Secretary of the Interior, Noelia García, let it be known that the governor will present a larger budget than the current one and was confident that it will have the endorsement of the Fiscal Control Board.
The chief executive must present the budget to the board on January 29.
“Secretaries are identifying areas where there were no projected expenditures and where savings can be transferred,” he said. He argued that there was an increase in projected collections from the Department of the Treasury.
“The collections are above the projected. When we can go out and negotiate bankruptcy, everything that is collected in excess goes into a pot to pay for bankruptcy. When we get out of bankruptcy, that can be used for the country, ”said García.