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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Health Dept. certifies nursing professionals as immunizers

By The Star Staff

The island Department of Health’s Vaccination Program has certified the first 50 nursing professionals who provide immunization services so that they can administer vaccines without needing a medical order per the authorized vaccination schedule in Puerto Rico.

The certification comes after the entry into effect of Administrative Order 520, which stipulates that all licensed nurses working in immunization centers, whether in the public or private sector, may administer vaccines without needing a doctor’s order. As of July 1, 2023, nurses must be duly certified.

“We continue to join efforts to strengthen the practice while facilitating the process for fathers, mothers, and guardians when taking their children to be vaccinated,” Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López said Wednesday. “It has proven to promote greater access to vaccination services by eliminating the requirement of a doctor’s order for the administration of vaccinations. In this context, nurses from the Department received their certification and were also educated to help citizens make informed decisions about vaccination, which is a proven tool for the prevention of contagious diseases.”

The certification is a first in Puerto Rico and will be compulsorily extended to licensed nurses working in vaccination services. It must be updated every three years through the 16-hour course offered by the program.

Vaccination Program Director Dr. Ángel Rivera García said “we are satisfied with this advanced step we have taken with the implementation of this course.”

“Today there were 50 nursing professionals, but the goal is to reach as many professionals as possible before July 1, 2023, so that vaccination services are not affected,” he said.

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