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Costa Rica to require vaccines for health workers, Health Ministry says

Costa Rica will require that some healthcare workers receive the coronavirus vaccine, the Health Ministry said Monday.

“The National Vaccination and Epidemiology Commission approved the obligation to apply Covid-19 vaccines to officials of the Health Ministry, Costa Rican Social Security System and those who work in the network of direct care services on the front line of the National Insurance Institute,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The Health Ministry provided the following reasons for mandating the vaccine for healthcare workers:

  • They have an occupational risk of getting sick with Covid-19.
  • They could otherwise infect the people whom they treat.
  • It will help to reactive non-Covid-related healthcare services.
  • Vaccinating health personnel prevents hospitals and health institutions from being a source of contagion for society.

A decree formalizing the requirement will be published in the coming days, the Health Ministry said. The obligation will also include private health personnel.

Besides the aforementioned healthcare workers, Costa Rica is not mandating the coronavirus vaccine. However, the country does hope to inoculate its entire adult population.

The vaccine requirement announced Monday appears to have legal backing. Costa Rica’s General Health Law (Ley General de Salud) establishes that the Health Ministry has the power to obligate “vaccination and revaccination against communicable diseases.”

Mario Ruíz, medical manager of the Social Security System, said 309 workers from hospitals and health areas have refused the coronavirus vaccine. “Each case will be reviewed” in context of the new requirements, he said.

As of Monday, Costa Rica has applied 101,181 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. This represents 1.94 jabs per 100 inhabitants, officials said.

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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