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Costa Rica begins administering second doses of coronavirus vaccine

January 14, 2021

Costa Rica on Thursday began administering the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, providing more complete protection against Covid-19.

“Exactly three weeks ago, thanks to the tireless and strategic work of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund, the National Emergency Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health, the first vaccine was given to Doña Elizabeth, Don Jorge, Dr. Acuña and Dr. Sancho,” said President Carlos Alvarado.

“Today, according to the vaccination protocol, we will begin to apply the second dose.”

The country has received 87,750 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, including a shipment of more than 33,000 doses that arrived earlier this week.

“It is already a reality: the vaccine has arrived, and more and more we advance with the vaccination of the first group and then start with the second, preserving health and life and promoting economic recovery from the pandemic,” President Alvarado said.

The priority for vaccination is as follows:

  • Staff and residents at retirement or nursing homes.
  • First responders, including health personnel.
  • Costa Rica’s older population, defined here as those ages 58 and up.
  • People with risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory illness, kidney disease and obesity, among others.
  • Teachers and other staff within the Education Ministry (MEP).
  • Imprisoned people and judicial staff.
  • Workers for the 911 service.
  • Health science students and related technicians in clinical fields.
  • People ages 40-57 without any of the aforementioned risk factors but whose work puts them in contact with others. This includes laborers in agriculture, construction, service industries, etc.

Costa Rican citizens and residents who fall into one of the above categories should call their local Ebais (community health clinic) to ensure their contact information is up-to-date.

The vaccine is free for citizens and residents. Tourists in Costa Rica will not receive the vaccine through the public-health system and must wait for it to become available via private means.

Costa Rica and Pfizer/BioNTech have an agreement for 3 million doses of the vaccine, enough for 1.5 million people. The Central American country also has a deal with AstraZeneca and is a member of the COVAX facility.

Costa Rica hopes to vaccinate at least 3 million people by the end of 2021. This would cover 80% of the country’s adult population, including everyone with known risk factors.

In addition, the Finance Ministry’s 2021 budget includes funds to protect 648,000 more people, which would provide coverage for Costa Rica’s entire adult population.

If you believe you have COVID-19, contact Costa Rica’s hotline at 1322. English-speaking staff and mental health professionals are available. Visit the Costa Rican Presidency for the official list of coronavirus measures and alerts. 

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