FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico – To provide more protection in the COVID-19 vaccination mission, the Puerto Rico National Guard's (PRNG) medical staff began using new equipment that promotes better airflow.
"Our Soldiers have been extremely engaged since Day One in the fight against COVID-19. This new equipment provides them with safer means during the vaccination process as it is accompanied by an air filtration system that facilitates better breathing," said Maj. Gen. José J. Reyes, adjutant general of Puerto Rico.
He said the staff at the municipality of Caguas's vaccination center is the first group to use this new equipment.
"Gradually the rest of the National Guard's medical staff will be using it in the different vaccination centers," Reyes said.
PRNG members deployed at the different vaccination centers were trained to operate the new equipment, which is known as the powered air-purifying respirator or "PAPR." This type of equipment has been used for decades in hospitals, sanitary installations and pharmaceutical facilities. Maintenance, including replacing the battery and filter, is quick and easy.
"We have a great responsibility in our hands," said Sgt. Rafael Torres of the Puerto Rico State Guard. "It's a job that fills us with pride because we know we're protecting people. The use of this new equipment gives more security to us and to those we vaccinate."
Reyes said the equipment will make Soldiers and Airmen feel safer.
"Their ease of movement will not be interrupted, and citizens who get vaccinated in our centers will also feel safer," he said. "We're protecting our Guardsmen while protecting and caring for our people."