National Guard vaccination centers for elderly open today

By John McPhaul

Island Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López announced Wednesday that the six National Guard vaccination centers would start serving the elderly today in an effort to increase the vaccination of Puerto Rico’s most vulnerable population.

So far, 52,000 people over 65 years of age have been vaccinated against the coronavirus out of a population estimated to range from 600,000 to 800,000 people.

As part of vaccination logistics, on Wednesday the first 300 people were to be summoned to show up today at each of the six centers through the shift platform contracted by the Health Department. They were to be contacted randomly, taking age into consideration. The people summoned must present a photo identification, passport or birth certificate that validates their identity and date of birth.

“The priority is clear, as is the instruction I gave last Monday. All health providers who receive vaccines must be vaccinating only the population over 65 years of age,” Mellado López said. “We need you to help us in this process, which takes time due to the amount of vaccines available and the complexity of this population. There is no doubt that we are looking for all possible tools to facilitate the process.”

The Health secretary said the agency will be using a federal health insurance program database that contains the vast majority of the population they will be serving. After the four weeks that they have set aside to serve that population, they will be informing those who have not been contacted by the end of the established period of the steps to follow. The centers will operate from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from today to Saturday. Then, inoculations will take place from Monday to Friday at the same time.

“We have managed to join forces with other providers to receive the information that supports us in contacting our older adults,” Mellado López said. “I am convinced that with this effort, we will be able to advance in the process of achieving the collective immunity we want to achieve.”

The new measures are in accordance with Administrative Order 2021-480, just signed by the Health secretary, who also gave assurances that he will guarantee the second dose to health professionals and emergency responders, who must show up on the date that appears on the vaccination card.

The six National Guard vaccination centers are located at Centro de Bellas Artes de Caguas, the Recreation and Sports Palace in Mayagüez, Rubén Rodríguez Coliseum in Bayamón, Petaca Iguina Coliseum in Arecibo, the Fair Complex in Ponce, and Pedrín Zorilla Coliseum in San Juan.

Mellado López noted that the residents of Vieques and Culebra were vaccinated in mid-January.

He added that the vaccination of teachers continues in the eight centers established for that purpose: Manuel “Petaca” Iguina Coliseum in Arecibo, the Mountain Comprehensive Health Center in Comerío, Arroyo and Guayama Family Health Center in Arroyo, Loíza Comprehensive Health Council in Loíza, and the Fair Complex in Ponce.

35 views0 comments