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Costa Rica purchases 1 million more Pfizer vaccines

Costa Rica has purchased an additional 1 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for a total of 4 million, the Presidency announced Monday.

The country expects to receive all 4 million doses by the end of 2021, with delivery amounts from the pharmaceutical increasing in April.

“We are very hopeful that with this decision, since having more vaccines will accelerate the immunization rate of priority groups, we will reduce the number of people who require hospitalization and prevent the capacity of the health system from being overrun,” said the Medical Manager of the Social Security System (CCSS), Mario Ruiz.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two jabs, meaning Costa Rica has now purchased doses for 2 million people.

In addition to the agreement with Pfizer, Costa Rica has secured 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and will receive 2 million doses through the Covax facility. In total, the country has purchased enough doses to fully vaccinate more than 3.5 million adults.

“It is a great satisfaction to be able to cover the majority of the population and thus prevent more people from getting sick with COVID-19,” said Alexander Solís, head of the National Emergency Commission.

While Costa Rican authorities didn’t announce a price for the 1 million new Pfizer doses, they previously detailed that the first 3 million doses cost $36 million — $12 each — including transportation.

Doses purchased through the COVAX mechanism cost Costa Rica $10.55 per dose, while AstraZeneca’s are less than $5 each.

Costa Rica has received 472,875 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The first shipment arrived on December 23, 2020. Covax and AstraZeneca vaccine deliveries are expected to begin in May.

Costa Rica hopes to vaccinate 80% of its adult population by the end of this year. Vaccines are provided for free to citizens and residents through Costa Rica’s public-health system. People residing in Costa Rica on tourist visas are not eligible for the public vaccination campaign.

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