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DIMEX required for vaccination, Costa Rica says

March 3, 2021

Costa Rica began administering coronavirus vaccines in December 2020, and the country hopes to inoculate its entire adult population.

We’ve received many questions asking whether foreign people residing in Costa Rica under tourist visas are eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine. We asked the the Costa Rica Social Security Fund (CCSS), who says they are not eligible.

Here’s what the CCSS told us:

“The definition of the requirements to be vaccinated corresponds to the National Vaccination and Epidemiology Commission attached to the Ministry of Health.

For the foreign population, those who have regular immigration status in the country will be subject to the application of the vaccine; therefore, they must present their DIMEX.” 

CCSS says one exception are foreigners who are in Costa Rica as refugees. That population must present the appropriate identity document as defined by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The National Commission of Vaccination and Epidemiology, part of the Health Ministry, says the priority for vaccination 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 call 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.

We’ve heard reports that some tourists have been added to the EBAIS vaccination lists; however, based on the information provided by CCSS, they would not be eligible to receive the vaccine as part of the national campaign.

Tourists would be able to obtain the vaccine in Costa Rica when it becomes publicly available at pharmacies and private clinics.

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