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Costa Rica surpasses 300,000 vaccine doses administered

March 22, 2021

Costa Rica has administered 312,425 doses of the coronavirus vaccine, President Carlos Alvarado said Monday.

More than 106,000 people have completed the vaccine schedule by receiving both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech formula.

The 312,425 doses mean Costa Rica has administered 6.13 jabs per 100 people. This places the country behind the United States, Canada, Panama, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina on the American continent, according to The New York Times vaccination tracker.

“We continue to immunize priority groups,” said President Alvarado. “The vaccine protects lives and is key to economic recovery.”

Last week, the Costa Rica Social Security Fund (CCSS, or Caja) announced it will stop offering the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine to elderly adults until April, in an effort to prioritize second doses for that population.

“It is essential that people complete the vaccination scheme against Covid-19,” said medical manager Mario Ruiz. “That is why at the Fund we have tried to ensure that this process is continuous and adjusted to the availability of the vaccines that we receive weekly to ensure the second dose.”

The only people who will receive first doses of the vaccine in what remains of March are staff and residents at retirement or nursing homes, and first responders, including health personnel.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, with the second coming 21 days after the first. (The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says a 42-day window is “permissible when a delay is unavoidable.”)

Costa Rica hopes plans to vaccinate every eligible adult against Covid-19, including at least 80% of adults in 2021. The first jabs were administered on December 24, 2020.

Costa Rica has received 550,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine of the 4 million it has purchased.

Earlier this month, the Health Ministry noted three medical events “of special interest” following a Covid vaccine administration. Of those, two had a possible or probable causal link with the vaccine; both individuals have recovered.

The National Commission of Vaccination and Epidemiology, part of the Health Ministry, has indicated 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. It is 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 call their local EBAIS (public community health clinic) and ensure their contact information is current.

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