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  • The San Juan Daily Star

Health authorities to augment COVID death info in effort to encourage vaccination

Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López

By John McPhaul

Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López announced Thursday that authorities will include additional information on deaths in their COVID-19 data reports.

“We are providing the information necessary for the population to make decisions based on scientific evidence and feel confident that the data provided is recent, objective and meaningful for the person who reads it,” Mellado López said in a written statement. “Unfortunately, most of the people who have passed away are people with pre-existing conditions and who either were not vaccinated or had been vaccinated but had not received the booster dose, despite being eligible for it. We believe that this information will once again demonstrate the value of the vaccine and the booster dose.”

“The report on deceased people shows some days that the number of deaths is higher in vaccinated people than in non-vaccinated ones; the explanation for this is that 74 percent of the population is vaccinated, so proportionally, the number will be higher,” the Health chief added. “We understand that this can create confusion. We want to clarify it with this new way of sharing data with citizens.”

Mellado López said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that unvaccinated people have a five times greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and 14 times greater risk of dying from the disease when compared to fully vaccinated people.

“If we compare it with vaccinated people who received the booster dose or booster, that risk increases the possibility of [an unvaccinated person] contracting the virus to 10 times and 20 times more in the possibility of deaths from COVID-19,” he said.

“Fully vaccinated people have a much lower risk of COVID-19 virus infection and of dying from virus complications compared to unvaccinated people,” Mellado López said. “This risk is further reduced in people fully vaccinated with a booster dose when compared to those who do not have the additional dose. It has been shown that the effectiveness of the vaccine diminishes over time. That is why it is necessary for eligible people to go to a vaccination center to receive their booster dose.”

At this time, those eligible to receive the booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine are: people 12 years of age and older who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and people 18 years of age and older who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine.

You are eligible for a booster if five months have passed since you completed your main Pfizer vaccination series, six months in the case of Moderna, or two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson single dose.

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