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Costa Rica pledges more vaccines for elderly

The Costa Rican Social Security Fund (Caja) will dedicate 90% of available coronavirus vaccines to Group 2 — people over 58 years old — to help mitigate the effects of a potential third wave of cases.

Previously, 80% of vaccines went to the elderly, while the remaining 20% were reserved for first responders.

The Presidency explained the decision was made “given the latent possibility of a third wave of infections that increases the risk that older adults may die or become seriously ill, as a more vulnerable population.”

Costa Rica has administered nearly 505,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, or about 9.8 per 100 inhabitants.

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.

You can track Costa Rica’s vaccine rollout at this link. It includes important information about which populations are elegible for the vaccine at local health clinics across the country.

AstraZeneca studies will be tracked

More than 43,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, acquired through the COVAX mechanism, will arrive in Costa Rica on Wednesday.

As the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and other health bodies investigate a possible link between the vaccine and blood clots, Costa Rican authorities issued the following statement:

On the research that is progressing in order to analyze the apparent relationship between the appearance of blood clots and the administration of this drug, health authorities indicated that so far a cause-effect relationship with the vaccine has not been demonstrated.

However, the National Commission on Vaccination and Epidemiology remains attentive to the new scientific evidence that emerges from the World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in order to establish the details of the use of the vaccine in our country, prior to its distribution by the CCSS.

“It is important to be emphatic that all the decisions that have been made and will be made will be based on science. In this way, vaccines have been selected and uses have been determined. Thus, with all the analysis of the scientific evidence, the Vaccination Commission will indicate the use that will be given of AstraZeneca vaccines,” said Health Minister Daniel Salas. 

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