Mandates. A well-organized campaign. No politics. How Puerto Rico’s vaccine drive turned into a success

The leader of the Puerto Rico National Guard was still dealing with the aftermath of a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that displaced thousands of residents in January 2020 when island officials began hearing reports of people falling ill from the new coronavirus. Once again, they turned to Guard Adjutant General José J. Reyes.

Much of Reyes’ 37-year career has been in emergency response mode — from 9/11 to the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017 to the earthquake — but he sees all of those events as preparation for this one: helping to plan the island’s vaccination strategy and oversee its rollout.

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