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The Reasons that Puerto Rico has the Highest Vaccination Rate in the Country

Puerto Rico has the highest vaccination rate in the United States with 73% of its 3.3 million residents fully vaccinated, according to the US Centers for Disease Control. It also has one of the lowest Covid transmission rates. That's an amazing accomplishment for one of the poorest regions of the country with a relatively thin healthcare infrastructure. Moreover, they have done it while suffering through frequent power outages and earthquakes.

There are several reasons for Puerto Rico's enviable record according to officials and healthcare experts who have been following their success. First and foremost, they have managed to take politics out of the equation. Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health explains:

CNN, Jha: "Best I can tell, they've done this largely by not tying vaccines to politics." ... They pay less attention to mainland politics. All their political parties actively support vaccinations. And generally, political [identity] & vaccinations are not intermixed."

That's because Donald Trump has almost no support on the island, trailing Joe Biden by about 40 points in 2020 approval surveys, and there isn't a constant drumbeat of anti-vax nonsense from Fox News hosts or right-wing talk radio. The island is largely insolated from the cornucopia of conspiracy theories that have plagued the vaccination rollout in many Southern states.

Daniel Colón Ramos, a Yale medical school professor who runs the coronavirus taskforce advising the government points out that all the major political parties on the island have coalesced around the idea of allowing scientists and healthcare professionals to direct efforts to fight the virus.

CNN: "Right now the legislature is controlled by one party, the governorship is controlled by another party, but in spite of those differences... wanting to save lives during the pandemic was never politicized in Puerto Rico," Colón Ramos said.
"Difficult decisions were made and criticized," he said. "But, for example, mask mandates were never really politicized. The importance of vaccination was never made into a political issue. It helped to send a coherent message that was based on scientific evidence."

Mónica Feliú-Mójer of Ciencia Puerto Rico agrees and points out that all elements of Puerto Rican society were united around one simple goal; defeating the virus.

NPR: "And those broad coalitions, different groups of people and segments of society in Puerto Rico came together to work towards preventing COVID-19, vaccinating people against COVID-19."

#coronavirus #health

By: Don lam & Curated Content

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