A new strain of the coronavirus detected in England has put the whole world on alert and multiple countries are under new and more stringent restrictions to stop its rapid spread, while Puerto Rico continues to work at an accelerated pace to comply with the vaccination phases after the arrival of new doses of the vaccine.
Yesterday morning, the government received the 47,500 doses of the vaccine against Covid-19 developed by the pharmaceutical company Moderna and expects to receive a new shipment tomorrow with 21,400 doses of the vaccine from Pfizer / BioNTech, confirmed to THE SPOKESMAN the adjutant general of the National Guard, General José Juan Reyes.
The government’s goal is to have a large number of the population immunized by the summer of next year, Reyes said. To the question about whether there is a possibility that the vaccination process will be delayed with the arrival of the new strain of the coronavirus – which is 70% more contagious – the general replied that “I do not think this is the point at this time.”
“These vaccines continue to develop and we are very attentive to these developments. It should not affect the distribution process of existing vaccines and it certainly will not affect the distribution and be able to take it expeditiously to the people of Puerto Rico, ”he added.
In fact, yesterday the 47,500 doses of Moderna’s vaccine were already being distributed to medical organizations. Reyes said that they now carry out a double vaccination effort, since these 47,500 doses of the vaccine will be administered to health professionals who are not working in hospitals.
At the moment, the government is concentrating on establishing the first four regional vaccination centers, with the support of the College of Surgeons and medical schools. The first regional vaccination center will be located in the Pedrín Zorrilla coliseum, in San Juan, and is expected to be ready by Wednesday. In subsequent days, regional vaccination centers will be opening in Caguas, Ponce and Arecibo.
“We already have 20,000 (Moderna vaccines) here in Fort Buchanan, we have 10,000 distributed to the University of Medicine in Ponce, we have 10,000 distributed to the University of Medicine at Hurra Hospital in Bayamón and we have 7,500 distributed to the De Diego Research Foundation , in San Juan, ”Reyes said.
Regarding the 21,400 doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer / BioNTech, Reyes reported that the shipment is expected to arrive tomorrow. “We are going to make a second distribution because the first one was made last week. We will once again be distributing between Wednesday and Thursday to the 65 main hospitals in Puerto Rico, 330 Clinics, CDT and IPAs group ”, he commented.
The diluents do not arrive
So far, the only setback the government has faced is that not all the diluents for the vaccines arrived. “Last week 30,225 doses of Pfizer vaccine arrived, 29,775 were distributed. There were about 450 doses of Pfizer vaccine that were not distributed because diluents did not arrive. When the diluents did not arrive, we could not distribute. So we left it in the refrigerators and we hope that with the delivery of 21,400 the diluents will also arrive, ”said the adjutant general of the National Guard.
On the market is the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, Moderna’s and Johnson & Johnson’s will be presented in January to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization. . With the three options available, Reyes hopes that the immunization process on the island will be accelerated to vaccinate 70% of the population. “I understand that we can meet that expectation for the summer,” he stressed.
As vaccination runs its course, Covid-19 cases continue to rise. Until yesterday, Puerto Rico had 119,172 cases and 1,382 deaths between confirmed and probable, since the pandemic began. Salud reported 520 hospitalizations for the virus, of which 94 were in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and 104 were connected to a ventilator.
Puerto Rico is one of the 49 jurisdictions in the United States with the highest risk level of Covid-19, according to data published by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering. This means that, as explained in the university’s website, Puerto Rico reports more than 25 new daily cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants and has a greater community spread.
The Secretary of the Department of Health (DS), Lorenzo González Feliciano, told THE SPOKESMAN that during December between 10 to 12 people are dying daily and the positivity rate is between 8% and 9%.
Against this background, González Feliciano did not rule out yesterday the possibility of the new strain of Covid-19 reaching the island and reiterated that the priority should be the vaccination effort. “We cannot say that it will not reach us,” said the official in a radio interview with NotiUno 630.
CVS begins to vaccinate
CVS pharmacies began administering the Covid-19 vaccine yesterday in more than 40,000 long-term care centers across the United States. In Puerto Rico, this effort will begin on January 4 in seven centers that selected CVS. Earlier this month, CVS Health was selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as one of two service providers administering the Covid-19 vaccines. The other provider is Walgreens.
Yesterday CVS formally launched its Covid-19 vaccination program for long-term care facilities. CVS Pharmacy teams will administer the first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine at facilities in 12 states this week, and the company expects to vaccinate four million residents and staff at more than 40,000 long-term care centers.
“Today’s (yesterday) launch is the culmination of months of internal planning and demonstrates how the private sector can use its expertise to help solve some of our most critical challenges,” said Larry J. Merlo, CVS President and CEO. Health, in written statements.