When pointing out that the vaccine against Covid-19 that reaches Puerto Rico must be one that is proven in terms of safety and efficacy, the president of the College of Surgeons, Víctor Ramos, made it clear yesterday that it will not be allowed to be used in Puerto Rico as a “guinea pig.”
Ramos’ statements emerged in a press conference after being approached about the news that the federal government approved a plan to the Department of Health (DS) for the eventual distribution of vaccines against Covid-19 and that funds were also allocated that amount to $ 1.6 million.
“We are not going to allow the country to be used as a guinea pig. The one who leads the Covid-19 vaccine strategy group is Dr. Iris Cardona, the Undersecretary of Health, a pediatric infectious disease specialist. We are collaborating with her in some groups establishing logistics, because it is a complicated logistics to have so many vaccines ”, he specified.
In that sense, he stated that it is not yet known which would be the vaccine against Covid-19 that they would be distributing on the island. However, it is a fact that the federal government will allocate about a million doses for free once a vaccine is available approved against the novel coronavirus.
“That is in the negotiation. The DS, through the doctor (Cardona), submitted a proposal that has already been approved, but we are not going to allow a vaccine to be given that does not have the efficacy and safety. What is the difference between this vaccine and others? Most drugs – and any vaccine – a limitation that pharmaceutical companies have is that they have to finance them. In this case, everything is financed by the federal government or the government of other countries, ”said Ramos.
But wouldn’t it pass like birth control pills, for example? Asked a journalist. “No, the vaccine will have to be tested and no doctor is going to lend itself to favor a vaccine that has not been proven for its safety and efficacy. They should not be concerned about that, that this if there is a vaccine that works, which we hope so, because it will be a vaccine that will cause problems ”, replied the doctor.
In an aside with THE SPOKESMAN, Ramos commented that, in the first stage, “first responders” will be vaccinated, as well as the employees of hospitals and health centers.
“All these first responders are being identified. We are helping to identify in hospitals and health centers who the employees are and a proposal was submitted to the federal government that was approved for this million vaccines. First come the ‘first responders’, then the elderly, pregnant women and the rest of the population ”, he explained.
However, he stressed that “you have to see which vaccine is assigned to Puerto Rico because there are some that are frozen, from the refrigerator, and the logistics will depend on which vaccine is because we cannot do it in the coliseum, mass vaccination, so You have to go to each place, do a trolley, that is, all that logistics is being worked on with the doctor (Cardona). What we do is give it ‘backup’ ”, he added.
Until yesterday, Puerto Rico had 63,587 cases -between confirmed and probable- and 813 deaths from Covid-19. Regarding the number of doctors infected with the virus, Ramos specified that some 106 doctors have tested positive for the disease and six have died. Meanwhile, there are four hospitalized.
For her part, the executive director of the Association of Community Pharmacies, Linda Ayala, called on Health to ensure that all community pharmacies certified to immunize can participate in the Covid-19 vaccine in all phases and that pharmacists are included as front-line workers.
“Contradictory information has emerged from state and federal government officials about which pharmacies will be participating in the immunization of the Covid-19 vaccine and in what phase of it they will participate. We ask the DS to include all community pharmacies on the Island in the hiring and in all phases and that we be integrated into the logistics that are working for the federal government. Community pharmacies are in all the municipalities of the country and there are many more than chain pharmacies. We are ready to be part of the solution, “said Ayala.