Puerto Rico National Guard SGT José Rodríguez administers a COVID-19 vaccine in the PRNG vaccination center in Caguas, Puerto Rico, March 1, 2021, using new personal protection equipment. (Photo by Staff SGT. Alexis Velez)
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 a safer means during the vaccination process as it is accompanied by an air filtration system that facilitates better breathing," says Major General (MG) José J. Reyes, Adjutant General of Puerto Rico.
He says the staff at the municipality of Caguas's vaccination center is the first group to use this new equipment.
"Gradually the rest of the Army National Guard's medical staff will be using it in the different vaccination centers," MG Reyes says.
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," says Sergeant (SGT) Rafael Torres of the Puerto Rico National 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."
MG Reyes says 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 says. "We're protecting our Guardsmen while protecting and caring for our people."
The Army National Guard offers medical career opportunities that provide essential training in health care procedures and incomparable experience with emergency response, as States call on medical specialists to care for victims during disasters. These professionals perform well under pressure and possess skills that translate to hospital work. Whichever medical career you choose, you can be sure that your job will be as rewarding as it is challenging.