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Pfizer suspends Costa Rica vaccine shipments for 3 weeks

Pfizer will suspend vaccine shipments to Costa Rica for three weeks, the Central American country reported Thursday.

However, Costa Rican health authorities will continue vaccinating at-risk populations with the supply of doses that has already been delivered by the U.S. pharmaceutical.

“All those who received their first dose are assured the second inoculation without any setback,” the Presidency said in a statement.

Weekly deliveries will resume in mid-February, according to a communication from Pfizer to the Costa Rican government, and are expected to include quantities ensuring Costa Rica receives “100% of the doses agreed to for the first quarter of the year.”

Pfizer says it is temporarily reducing vaccine production in order to make changes that will increase global supply for the rest of 2021.

More than 30,000 people in Costa Rica have already received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Inoculations began on December 24.

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 3 million people by the end of 2021.

The Pfizer-BioNTech drug is based on technology that uses a synthetic version of a molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA) to hack into human cells and effectively turn them into vaccine-making factories.

The vaccine — like the candidate from Moderna — is delivered in two doses. The second dose should come three weeks after the first and is meant to provoke stronger and longer-lasting immunity.

Costa Rica coronavirus update: January 21

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