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Costa Rica approves AstraZeneca vaccine for most adults

Costa Rica’s National Commission for Vaccination and Epidemiology (CNVE) has approved the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine for nearly all adults, the government announced Thursday.

AstraZeneca doses “will be applied to the population over 18 years of age, with no age or gender limit. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are excepted,” the Health Ministry said.

The news comes days after Costa Rica received its first shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines, and the same week the European Medicines Agency (EMA) called blood clots a “very rare side effect” of the formula.

“Covid-19 is associated with a risk of hospitalization and death. The reported combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is very rare, and the overall benefits of the vaccine in preventing Covid-19 outweigh the risks of side effects,” the EMA says.

The AstraZeneca vaccine schedule is for two doses to be given 12 weeks apart.

Given the limited availability of vaccines in Costa Rica, individuals will not be allowed to select which formula they will receive.

“The Commission’s experts are keeping an eye on all the new scientific evidence that is issued on the different developments of vaccines against Covid-19,” the Health Ministry said.

The CNVE, 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. Finally, all remaining adults.

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.

Use the following link to track vaccine progress and the status of your local EBAIS:

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