Puerto Rico continues leading in vaccination rates as it extends mandates to schools
Puerto Rico celebrates the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates amongst the US and its territories. The territory’s strict COVID-19 quarantine, vaccination regulations, and mask mandates have quickly made Puerto Rico one of the leading examples in controlling the pandemic.
In an attempt to continue combatting COVID-19 and new surges of the virus, Puerto Rico has recently declared that the vaccine will now be required to attend schools. This was announced after a new Executive Order was publicized, which required public sector employees to be vaccinated, and later, private sector employees. This Executive Order, No. 2021-075 (EO 2021-075) was recently announced by the Governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi (NPP, D). Regulating vaccine mandates and COVID-19 precautions with private sector employers, Puerto Rico has managed to become a force against COVID-19 and an example for the rest of the world.
Through mandatory vaccinations, Puerto Rican students and staff are able to return to school. “Today, 89 % of the young population are at least partially vaccinated, a rate higher than any other mainland US state or territory.” Not only are vaccines required for students and staff (with certain exemptions) in Puerto Rican schools, but masks are also mandated.
Puerto Rican adults have been vaccinated since early spring 2021, and since late summer and early fall, Puerto Rican children have been allowed to be vaccinated against COVID-19. “Health Secretary Carlos Mellado said he anticipates that some 227,000 children will be vaccinated, with a goal to inoculate 95% of that population.” “In July, Puerto Rico’s governor required all students to show proof of receiving at least one dose of the vaccine in order to return to school after the summer break.”
One of the reasons Puerto Rico has seen such high vaccination rates: the National Guard, which has been mobilized since the start of the pandemic in Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican National Guard (PRNG), has been able to vaccinate over 600,000 citizens. Puerto Rico has also taken a less politicized perspective on the COVID-19 vaccination than the mainland United States.
In total, 151,800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported, but the small island territory is now on the mend. Fighting the pandemic through requiring vaccinations for school students, Puerto Rico is returning to the paradise islands it once was.