Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

A phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Royal Victoria Hospital, in Belfast, on Dec. 8, 2020. >Liam McBurney/Pool via AP

After the approval of an advisory committee to the Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized its use in the United States, giving way to the beginning of the immunization process in Puerto Rico.

The initial shipment to the island is estimated to include 205,725 doses of Pfizer's vaccine. This, while waiting for the FDA to evaluate the vaccine manufactured by Moderna, which -if it receives emergency authorization- should be available in hospitals on December 20.

The United States joins countries such as Canada and Great Britain, which also authorized the use of the vaccine with 95-percent effectiveness, according to Pfizer. Britain has already started administering the vaccine to its highest-risk population.

The National Guard (NG) has already completed the required visits in the first hospitals in the vaccine delivery line. It includes four hospitals in the metropolitan area: HIMA San Pablo in Bayamón, HIMA Caguas, the Ashford Presbyterian Community Hospital in Condado, and the Veterans Hospital.

In this first stage, the hospitals will be the priority and later the vaccine will reach pharmacies to be administered to the corresponding people and will also reach the home service agencies, among others. Eventually -around next year- it will be supplied to the general public.

Former U.S. Surgeon General Antonia Coello de Novello and Health Department Undersecretary Iris Cardona Gerena said this week that the vaccine is safe and its side effects are minimal. She explained that the effects include pain in the area where it was injected, fatigue and headache, common symptoms caused by vaccines.

Cardona Gerena underscored that studies carried out by the Health Department showed that 50 percent of the population in Puerto Rico is willing to undergo the vaccine. To achieve the desired effect, it is required that about 70 percent of the population on the island be vaccinated.

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