The Secretary of the Department of Health (DS), Carlos Mellado López, reported today that as of tomorrow the emergency responders will begin to be vaccinated in the six vaccination centers led by the National Guard gradually. Likewise, the distribution of vaccines to various centers around the island to vaccinate older adults.
“All groups are important and we would like to vaccinate all of them at the same time. There are many aspects that we are considering at the same time and we will work to improve the response. We have been vaccinating for four weeks and we are going to integrate phase 1B little by little, without forgetting that we are still attending to health professionals ”, specified Mellado López after anticipating that they will integrate a shift system that will be available to older adults as well as an information platform “Dashboard” to keep the vaccination information up to date by municipality.
He added that, “we have divided efforts to achieve greater impact on vaccination. The National Guard will begin vaccinating 300 emergency responders identified by the Department of Public Safety (DSP) for each of the six available Centers starting tomorrow. Which means that not all police officers will be able to attend tomorrow to get vaccinated, only those identified and informed by DPS. The logistics are staggered to be able to attend them without excluding the health professionals that we are still vaccinating, ”he insisted.
The Centers for covid-19 vaccination led by the National Guard are: the Pedrín Zorrilla Coliseum in San Juan, the Rubén Rodríguez Coliseum in Bayamón, the Fine Arts Center in Caguas, the Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce and the Recreation and Sports Palace in Mayagüez. During this period, these Centers will serve the health professionals and emergency responders identified by the DSP. The established schedule is from 8:00 am to 4:00 in the afternoon.
“Our goal is to vaccinate all first responders throughout the island in four weeks after phase 1B begins. First responders, both state and municipal, will be being vaccinated in the regional centers operated by the National Guard in San Juan, Caguas, Bayamón, Arecibo, Ponce and Mayagüez. ” said the Adjutant General of the National Guard of PR, Major General José J. Reyes.
For her part, the director of the Covid-19 Vaccination Program, Dr. Iris Cardona, said that “we first want adults over 75 to start vaccination followed by those over 65. The vaccines will be made available to everyone and according to the established priority. The elderly phase is around 400 thousand people and we want to vaccinate all of them in an orderly process ”, he commented.
As explained by the Secretary of Health, over 91 providers of the Department of Health have vaccines available and as they are received they will be distributed among said centers to vaccinate older adults. In total, Health has 64 hospitals, 51 primary care centers, 70 CDTs and 17 IPAS groups. Tomorrow another 11 additional IPAs will be added and next week 157 community pharmacies will be added to support the management of vaccination of older adults.
On December 15, the vaccination process for health workers began. A week ago the vaccination of the elderly began in extended care facilities managed by the Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy. Also, the vaccination of the participants of the intellectual disability programs began.
On the other hand, the secretary of the Department of Public Security (DSP), Alexis Torres, expressed hope for the start of the vaccination process for the responders, “our first responders are among the officials who have been most exposed to COVID- 19 trying to protect the general public. So far, we have lost five colleagues from the Police Bureau and a colleague from the Bureau for Emergency Management and Disaster Administration to becoming infected with this virus. Today they begin to get vaccinated so that can count on that protection while continuing to provide security and well-being to all in Puerto Rico. “
According to the Department of Health, phase 1a will continue until the end of January, while phase 1b, which was scheduled to begin at the end of January, is advanced. Similarly, work is done on the logistics of vaccination of teachers and administrative staff of the Department of Education.
“Our goal is always for everyone in Puerto Rico to be vaccinated. To achieve this we are joining forces with many components of health and safety to achieve this. In the meantime, we ask the public not to lower their guard. The mask, distancing and hand washing is a priority at this time ”, he concluded.