Almost half of the population of Puerto Rico lacks booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine

As of July 1, 1,505,608 people in Puerto Rico were in need of a booster dose of the vaccine against COVID-19which represents 47.1% of the population.

This is clear from the COVID-19 Vaccine Report in Puerto Rico prepared by the Dr. Rafael Irizarryprofessor of biostatistics at the Harvard University.

According to this document, there are currently 1,102,275 people with this vaccination up to date, which implies 34.5% of the people who live on the island.

“Booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine may enhance or restore protection that may have diminished over time after the main vaccination schedule,” warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to this division of the federal government, everyone five years of age and older should receive a booster dose after they have completed their main schedule of this vaccine, if they are eligible. The main schedule of this vaccination includes two vaccines if it is from Pfizer or Moderna and one dose if it is from Johnson & Johnson.

Meanwhile, the second booster is recommended and authorized for people 50 years of age or older, as well as for some people 12 years of age and older with moderate or severe immunosuppression. This includes people undergoing cancer treatment for tumors or blood cancers, those who have received an organ transplant and are taking immunosuppressants, people with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency, and people with advanced or untreated HIV infection, among other at-risk populations.

As for people who have been infected with the virus, the CDC advises that they should wait until after they recover and complete the isolation period to receive any vaccine. It warns that these people should consider postponing their next dose of the vaccine, either from the main vaccination schedule or one of the two boosters, to three months after the onset of symptoms or a positive result for the virus.

Dr. Irizarry has warned that a possible explanation for why the rebound persists is because new variants of the virus begin to dominate and the immunity acquired in previous infections is less effective against them.

“Data from Puerto Rico clearly corroborate that it is possible to be reinfected with the virus that causes COVID. Not surprisingly, natural immunity wanes and is less effective against the variants that now dominate,” he said.

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