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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

2nd booster for COVID-19 now available to adults 50 & older

Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López

By John McPhaul

Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López confirmed that as of Wednesday, adults 50 years of age and older are eligible to receive a second booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The island Health Department (DH) began the administration of the second Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna booster vaccine, which can be administered four months after the first.

“Vaccines continue to offer a high degree of protection; we cannot relax in the face of a virus that continues to evolve and is still in the community,” Mellado López said in a written statement. “Today we find a positivity rate of 6.9 percent and we must continue to safeguard the health of all citizens in Puerto Rico. We are continuing our vaccination efforts and our providers are ready to administer the second booster. The vaccine has been shown to improve protection, especially in this period where the omicron variant has been more transmissible.”

The immunization process is occurring upon authorization from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this week. Meanwhile, any patient over 12 years of age with a weakened immune system can receive a fifth dose against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

According to data from the DH Vaccination Program, as of Wednesday the island had reached 59.4 percent administration of the booster dose. Thus vaccination efforts to reach the 40.6 percent who have not yet been vaccinated with the booster have not ceased.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico leads U.S. jurisdictions in total doses of vaccines per 100,000 inhabitants.

The Health secretary said all people between 12 and 17 years old with certain types of immunosuppression can also receive the second booster with the Pfizer vaccine, which is the vaccine approved for that age group. However, immunocompromised individuals 18 years of age and anyone over 50 years of age may receive the second booster, with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, as long as four months have passed since receiving the last dose of the vaccine.

Mellado López added that people who have been vaccinated with one dose of Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) and received a Janssen booster can receive a second booster using an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) at least four months after the first booster.

Citizens can call 787-522-3985 and request the vaccine at their residence or visit the nearest vaccination center.

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