PRNG Validates COVID-19 Vaccination Data for over 600,000 Citizens
By Spc. Hassani Ribera, Puerto Rico National Guard
/ Published October 14, 2021
FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico -- Following the mass vaccination efforts against COVID-19 the Puerto Rico National Guard undertook in December 2020, Soldiers and Airmen took on the task of verifying and validating the information.
This quality assurance process is happening with over 600,000 people the PRNG vaccinated against Covid-19. Service members verify and validate information provided by vaccinated citizens, ensuring the information is correct and that the Puerto Rico Electronic Immunization System has no mistakes.
The PREIS, a database managed by the Puerto Rico Department of Health containing all the island’s immunization records, had COVID-19 vaccination data uploaded. However, information would sometimes be incorrect or missing. Joint Task Force - Puerto Rico assigned around 80 HIPAA-certified service members to this mission, each verifying COVID-19 vaccination documentation and uploading it to PREIS.
“The importance of this is so we can maintain an accurate account over how many people are vaccinated and ensure the information is correct,” said Puerto Rico State Guard Army Sgt. Pedro Vidal, assigned to Joint Task Force – Puerto Rico as the noncommissioned officer in charge of data entry. “All of our personnel are qualified to handle protected information.”
“More than a thousand cases are managed every day by our troops,” said Vidal. “We also get cases from the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines stationed in Puerto Rico.”
“We utilize this information to request more vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to assess how close we are to herd immunity,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Abraham Medina-Vega of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard, the officer in charge of vaccine distribution around the island. “This information is the basis for the actions to be taken during this mission, such as requesting more vaccines and achieving herd immunity.”
“We are grateful for every Soldier and Airman here, working to serve the people of Puerto Rico,” said Medina-Vega, addressing the service members working on data entry at the Puerto Rico Convention Center.
Since December 2020, the PRNG has vaccinated more than 600,000 people, from mass vaccination sites to nursing homes. Aside from data entry, the organization has engaged in various missions, including screening at the island’s airports, screening over 10,000 incoming travelers daily, and distributing vaccines to various government and privately managed vaccination sites, with over 300,000 vials delivered to over 6,000 facilities.
“Having this information correct is important because many private establishments require proof of vaccination,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Edgar Febres of the Puerto Rico Army National Guard, the deputy noncommissioned officer in charge of the Puerto Rico Convention Center data entry site. “If any part is wrong, a person may encounter problems in their day to day life.”
“I am very proud of this job, always grateful for the service members working here,” said Febres. “We’re a team of professionals that has made this operation run very smoothly.”