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Costa Rica has received nearly 500,000 vaccine doses

March 10, 2021

Costa Rica received 86,580 more doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on Tuesday night for a total of 472,875, the Presidency reported.

As of Monday, Costa Rica had administered 204,586 doses in first responders and the elderly. The country’s contract with Pfizer is for 3 million doses of the two-shot vaccine.6

This week, the Social Security System (CCSS, or Caja) installed 14 ultra-low-temperature freezers in health centers across the country: in the Chorotega, Brunca, Huetar Norte, Central Pacific, Central Norte, Central Sur and Huetar Atlántico regions.

With a combined capacity for more than 1 million doses, the 14 freezers will facilitate vaccinations outside of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM).

“With an investment of $223,535, the National Emergency Commission (CNE) processed the purchase of 14 ultra-low temperature freezers to protect coronavirus vaccines. This equipment, already under the administration of the CCSS, will allow the vaccines to be guarded at the temperatures defined by the pharmaceutical company,” said Alexander Solís, president of the CNE.

According to Pfizer, its vaccine should only be stored for five days at refrigerated (2-8°C) conditions. Ultra-low-temperature freezers, like the ones Costa Rica has purchased, can extend shelf life for up to six months.

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 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.

AstraZeneca and Covax

Direct deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine will begin in May, the CNE says.

In May, Costa Rica will also receive its first vaccine deliveries through the Covax facility, a global program led in part by the World Health Organization to ensure equitable distribution of doses.

Through the Covax facility, Costa Rica will receive enough vaccines for 20% of its population, or about 1 million people.

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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