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Puerto Rico health officials take to beaches to give shots

June 23, 2021 GMT
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People relax on the shores of the Isla Verde public beach near a vaccination campaign as part of the “Noche de San Juan” festivities, a traditional all-day celebration to mark the birth of St. John the Baptist, in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, June 23, 2021. This year COVID-19 vaccines will be available to devotees heading to the beach to celebrate the saint’s June 24th feast day. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)
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People relax on the shores of the Isla Verde public beach near a vaccination campaign as part of the “Noche de San Juan” festivities, a traditional all-day celebration to mark the birth of St. John the Baptist, in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, June 23, 2021. This year COVID-19 vaccines will be available to devotees heading to the beach to celebrate the saint’s June 24th feast day. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Health officials in Puerto Rico took to the beaches on Wednesday to vaccinate people as crowds began to arrive to celebrate a local tradition.

Dozens of doses were administered near the ocean in the capital of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory of 3.3 million people where 70% of people have received their first dose. Among those were Luis Pérez Mingeti, who was vaccinated at a public beach in the northern coastal town of Carolina.

“In all honesty, I really didn’t want to (get the vaccine) like many people who have tremendous taboos regarding the consequences of the vaccine, but I understand that they are beliefs promoted by social networks,” he said.

Another 1.58 million people in Puerto Rico have received their second dose.

Authorities said they wanted to take advantage of the crowds heading to the beach to celebrate the “Night of San Juan,” which marks the birth of St. John the Baptist.

Puerto Rico has reported more than 122,800 confirmed cases and more than 2,000 deaths.