Puerto Rico is now the most vaccinated place in the US

Oct 26, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Puerto Rico has weathered a lot in recent years, from Hurricane Maria — the worst storm in decades, which killed thousands and destroyed most of the island’s power grid — to earthquakes and a debt crisis.

For TPG news and deals delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

The island also hasn’t been spared from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s still quietly vaccinated the majority of its residents.

According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, a whopping 73% of Puerto Ricans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That figure is higher than every state in the United States and the District of Columbia, including jurisdictions with high vaccination rates like Vermont and Maine. And broken down further, the figures are even more phenomenal.

The New York Times, which has tracked COVID-19 vaccinations nationwide, reported that 99% of Puerto Ricans 65 and older are fully vaccinated.

So, how did Puerto Rico do it? Accessibility was one factor, as nurses brought vaccines to residents’ doorsteps. Among other sectors, employees of restaurants, gyms and grocery stores are also required to be vaccinated. According to the CDC, the Puerto Rico National Guard also developed a vaccine distribution inventory system, and information about the COVID-19 vaccines was distributed online in Spanish.

“Puerto Rico has been committed to health and safety throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and is leading the tourism industry’s recovery,” said Brad Dean, the CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s destination marketing organization.

“Our priority to safeguard both residents and visitors has built confidence in this space,” the statement continued, “translating to an increase in demand for the destination. Having the highest vaccination rate in the U.S. is a significant milestone, and we thank the exceptional community in Puerto Rico for their commitment to health, safety and economic prosperity.”

After a surge caused by the highly transmissible delta variant in August and an earlier surge in April, cases in Puerto Rico have sharply decreased. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 have fallen on the island, with the 14-day death rate dropping 48%. The CDC just lowered its travel advisory from the highest level, 4, to level 3.

Puerto Rico also implemented guidelines for travelers to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Fully vaccinated travelers on domestic flights must upload their official COVID-19 vaccination card through the Travel Declaration Form portal.

Unvaccinated arrivals and those arriving on international flights, regardless of vaccination status, must provide a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Travelers who arrive without a test must upload a test taken on the island within 48 hours of arrival or face a $300 fine. (Travelers don’t have to provide a negative COVID-19 test result to return to the mainland from Puerto Rico, as it’s a U.S. territory.)

Puerto Rico saw a massive resurgence in travel to the island this spring and summer, like other destinations popular with tourists. But this saw tourists flouting the island’s COVID-19 requirements and an alarming increase in violent incidents, which led to extra police patrols assigned to popular tourist areas such as Old San Juan.

Featured photo by Martin Wheeler/EyeEm/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.