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Costa Rica receives shipment of nearly 80,000 more vaccines

February 17, 2021

Costa Rica received 79,560 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on Tuesday night, the single-largest shipment delivered to the country, the Presidency reported.

The Boeing 757-200 jet arrived at Juan Santamaría International Airport at 9 p.m., where it was welcomed by a group that included President Carlos Alvarado.

Costa Rica has now received 183,885 total Pfizer doses, enough for nearly 92,000 people. The country’s contract with Pfizer is for 3 million doses of the two-shot vaccine.

Eighty percent of vaccines received Tuesday — about 63,500 doses — will go toward inoculating Costa Rica’s second priority group (58 years and older), starting with the most elderly.

“This very positive news continues to feed hope,” said President Alvarado. “It is time to redouble care and continue the fight against the virus. Vaccination is the fundamental tool to move Costa Rica forward, since in addition to protecting public health, it stimulates the economic recovery of the country and allows us to reduce the negative impacts of this pandemic that has tested us so much.”

Costa Rica has administered 96,948 vaccine shots, representing 53% of its total supply (and 93% of the doses that were available prior to Tuesday night). More than 42,500 people have received both jabs.

Costa Rica’s vaccine priority is 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. According to the Presidency, this group will be 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 contact their local EBAIS (public community health clinic) and ensure their contact information is current.

Direct deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine will begin in May, the National Emergency Commission (CNE) said Tuesday afternoon. Costa Rica could receive AstraZeneca doses earlier as part of its enrollment in the Covax facility.

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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