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Puerto Rico National Guard vaccinates thousands of people

Sgt. Phillip Altuz of the Puerto Rico Army National Guard vaccinates a person at Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, March 4, 2021. The Puerto Rico National Guard assisted the Department of Health to vaccinate the elderly against COVID-19. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Hassani Ribera)

Sgt. Phillip Altuz of the Puerto Rico Army National Guard vaccinates a person at Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, March 4, 2021. The Puerto Rico National Guard assisted the Department of Health to vaccinate the elderly against COVID-19. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Hassani Ribera)

FORT BUCHANAN, PR – The Puerto Rico National Guard, mobilized a year ago to support the fight against COVID-19, is carrying out "Operation Strong Front" by helping vaccinate thousands of Puerto Ricans.

The PRNG is overseeing six vaccination centers in San Juan, Bayamón, Caguas, Ponce, Mayagüez and Arecibo. Guard members are also administering vaccines at nine Department of Education vaccination centers, at homes of older people, and various police department precincts.

"Our mission is to vaccinate all our citizens according to CDC guidelines while also following Puerto Rico Health Department protocols," said Maj. Gen. José J. Reyes, the adjutant general of Puerto Rico. "We evaluate this joint effort daily to make the necessary adjustments as they arise."

In addition to conducting vaccination efforts at regional centers, the PRNG continues screening people arriving at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Carolina and at the Ceiba airport and seaport to detect possible cases of the coronavirus.

"We want Puerto Ricans and the people who visit us every day to feel safe. We continue to emphasize the importance of wearing a face mask, hand washing, and physical distancing," Reyes said.

Over 1,200 service members work daily in logistics and operations to ensure Operation Strong Front's success and to fulfill its mission of reestablishing quality of life for the people of Puerto Rico.

"We are extremely proud of the effort and commitment of our Soldiers and Airmen. There have been many long hours, and despite the fatigue they may feel, they remain firm in this battle against an invisible but not invincible enemy," said Col. Carlos Torres, commander of Joint Task Force - Puerto Rico.

The PRNG has administered vaccines to older people at 63 homes in 27 municipalities. More than 4,810 residents and 1,024 employees have been vaccinated with first doses. Additionally, 139,788 people over the age of 65, first responders, and health care professionals have received first and second doses.

The PRNG has also vaccinated 56,516 Department of Education personnel with the first dose and 37,970 with the second dose.

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