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More citizens to receive COVID vaccine starting next week


By Elsa Velázquez Santiago

Twitter: @elsavelazquezpr

Special to The Star


Designated Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López announced Tuesday that next week the agency will issue a new administrative order, which will seek to vaccinate more people in Puerto Rico against COVID-19.


Mellado also said that starting Monday the Health Department will begin to vaccinate people between 35 and 49 years old who have chronic conditions.


“As of Monday, I will anticipate what will happen next week, but it will not come into force yet,” Mellado López at a press conference. “We will start with the food, manufacturing and pharmacy industries. … We will lower the age to 35 years [with] patients with chronic conditions … [such as] diabetes, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, cancer or any type of chronic condition.”


He added that the new administrative order will allow anyone over 50 years of age to be inoculated as well, whether or not they have a chronic disease history.


“From 50 years old, any patient [can be inoculated],” Mellado López said.


The next administrative order will also include the food chain, pharmacies, and the communication and financial industries.


On March 31, the Health Department will hold the “Super VacuTour COVID-19” at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in Miramar, San Juan, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mellado López said more than 10,000 people are expected to be inoculated. To make an appointment, people who qualify can access protegetevacunate.com.


The Health chief said more vaccines are arriving on the island this week.


“This week we received 41,500 from Pfizer, 35,500 from Moderna and 3,000 from Janssen [Johnson & Johnson],” he said.


Mellado López also noted that “54% of all vaccinated people are people over 60 years old.”

Regarding bedridden individuals, the Health secretary-designate said seven companies have carried out the vaccination process islandwide.


“We have seven providers to serve the bedridden population,” Mellado López said.

“Vaccination is conducted through visits to homes around the island. So far we have assisted 9,988 people and we will continue to go from home to home in collaboration with the municipalities.”


According to the Health Department, to date 824,045 doses of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been administered. These are divided into 523,169 people with one dose and 300,876 people with the series of doses completed.


So far, 1,261,910 doses have been received in Puerto Rico, while 1,195,784 have been distributed in the different vaccination centers around the island.

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