How Puerto Rico became the most vaccinated place in America
Oct 24, 2021 1 min, 22 secs
You get your fireworks and then you go get a vaccine."

Irizzary was only half joking about vaccination rates and Puerto Rico's more than 100 Walgreens outlets.

"All those emergencies and collective trauma primed Puerto Rico and the leadership, the scientific community, the healthcare community," said Daniel Colón Ramos, a Yale medical school professor who presides over the coronavirus coalition advising the government.

Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, wrote on Twitter that Puerto Rico's "fabulous" vaccination efforts have "gotten way too little attention."

"Best I can tell, they've done this largely by not tying vaccines to politics," Jha wrote last weekend.

'A lot of saved lives'

"It represents a lot of saved lives," Colón Ramos said of the island's vaccination success.

"Given the difficulties that the whole world knows Puerto Rico has endured in the last five years -- hurricanes, earthquakes, political and fiscal crises -- the Puerto Rican people at all levels have cooperated."

That cooperation has included both vaccine education programs and vaccination events.

"In the cultural context of Puerto Rico, the social distancing is not something that comes easy to us as Puerto Ricans -- we want to be close," Colón Ramos said.

wanting to save lives during the pandemic was never politicized in Puerto Rico," Colón Ramos said.

Víctor Ramos, a pediatrician and president of the island's Association of Physicians and Surgeons, said mass vaccination centers were set up by the National Guard in shopping malls throughout the island.

There were door-to-door vaccination events in remote rural towns, where shots were administered in homes, particularly to the elderly and bedridden.

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