Antonia Novello, MD, MPH, DrPh, Calls for an Emergency Immunization Fund in...

Antonia Novello, MD, MPH, DrPh, Calls for an Emergency Immunization Fund in Puerto Rico


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Oct. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Antonia Novello, MD, MPH, DrPh, the first Puerto Rican and Hispanic Surgeon General of the United States, and Commissioner of Health for the State of New York in 2001 during the September 11th terrorist attacks, requests U.S. and international aid through donations that would increase the supply of necessary vaccines to be administered to the Island’s residents. Donations may be sent through the Emergency Immunization Fund at

In Puerto Rico, 90% of the inventory of vaccines has had to be discarded due to lack of electricity and flooding, because they do not fulfill the protocol and specifications established by the manufacturers. The distribution of vaccines to the Island has also been affected because the necessary cold chain cannot be guaranteed.

“Following the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria over Puerto Rico, the current situation has increased the risk of contagion from infectious diseases among the population. Vaccination is the first line of defense for diseases that we can prevent. With 80% vaccination we can control outbreaks, endemics and an epidemic of any preventable disease through immunization,” Dr. Novello explained.

The Fund, established by Novello for VOCES, The Vaccination Coalition of Puerto Rico, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that promotes immunization and preventive care, is seeking help to acquire vaccines, support the vaccination centers in Puerto Rico and their infrastructure, as well as to develop a mobile unit that will take the vaccinations all over the Island, including areas that have not had access to the outside or main urban areas.

“Maintaining the vaccination system in Puerto Rico today is an uphill struggle. We need to protect our people, so they must have access to vaccinations. Together with VOCES, I am asking you to help us with prevention. Influenza, tetanus, hepatitis A and B, pneumococcal pneumonia and meningitis B are some of the diseases for which there is a preventative vaccine,” Novello added.

The Immunization Emergency Fund will help VOCES provide immediate vaccinations to people who do not have access to them. You may make your donation through For more information on VOCES, The Vaccination Coalition of Puerto Rico, please call 787-789-4008, or find us on Facebook at

VOCES, The Vaccination Coalition of Puerto Rico, is a non-profit organization that is comprised of more than forty organizations in the healthcare field, community groups, and individuals, whose mission is to bring awareness and provide education on the importance of vaccination. It also promotes vaccinations, which are the frontline in fighting preventable diseases that can affect the quality of life and health in Puerto Rico. The objective of the Coalition is to protect the residents of Puerto Rico through immunization, to promote health and to protect life, preventing contagious diseases.


SOURCE VOCES, Coalición de Vacunación de Puerto Rico

Antonia Novello, MD, MPH, DrPh, Calls for an Emergency Immunization Fund in Puerto Rico