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Costa Rica to begin vaccinating everyone 58 and older in February

Costa Rica in February will begin vaccinating citizens and residents who are 58 and older against the coronavirus.

President Carlos Alvarado announced the news Thursday on his social media pages.

“Starting in February, 80% of the vaccines against Covid-19 that the country receives will be applied to the second priority group — all people over 58 years of age — with priority for the longest-lived people,” President Carlos Alvarado wrote.

The remaining 20% will be given to healthcare workers and other first responders.

“The vaccination campaign is one of our most effective tools to face the pandemic, protect people, and encourage economic recovery,” President Alvarado said.

Pfizer has suspended new vaccine deliveries to Costa Rica until mid-February as the pharmaceutical makes supply-change updates. This interruption is not unique to Costa Rica, and the country still expects to receive “100% of the doses agreed to for the first quarter of the year,” according to the Presidency.

Per official figures released last week, 45,700 people in Costa Rica have received at least one dose of the two-dose vaccine. At least 2,400 people have received the second jab.

Costa Rica and Pfizer/BioNTech have an agreement for 3 million doses of the vaccine, enough for 1.5 million people. However, the country has budgeted to vaccinate every eligible adult against Covid-19, including at least 80% of adults in 2021.

The National Commission of Vaccination and Epidemiology, part of the Health Ministry, has indicated the priority for vaccination will be as follows:

  • First group: Staff and residents at retirement or nursing homes.First responders, including health personnel.
  • Second group: Costa Rica’s older population, defined here as those ages 58 and up. It is required to demonstrate residency with a cédula or DIMEX.
  • Third group: People from 18-58 with risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory illness, kidney disease and obesity, among others.
  • Fourth group: Teachers and other staff within the Education Ministry (MEP) or private schools. Imprisoned people and judicial staff. Workers for the 911 service.
  • Fifth group: 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.

The Caja will contact individuals to schedule their coronavirus vaccine. Those who fall into priority groups should call their local EBAIS (public community health clinic) and ensure their contact information is current.

The latest Covid data

See the below graph for the latest Costa Rica coronavirus updates:

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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