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Costa Rica asks U.S. for vaccine donation

The Costa Rican government has asked the United States for a donation of surplus vaccines.

“Since the government of President (Joe) Biden announced, on March 9, the donation of vaccines to Mexico and Canada, we have started a consultation process with the United States authorities,” Foreign Minister Rodolfo Solano told La Nación.

“Specifically, our embassy in Washington has been making efforts to explore possibilities of support toward Costa Rica and towards the region as a whole.”

The United States will send up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine abroad. Since supply appears increasingly assured, AstraZeneca doses almost certainly will not be required in the North American country.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a briefing that the recipient nations have not yet been decided and that the administration was still formulating its distribution plan.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has not yet been approved in the United States, but it has been authorized in Costa Rica and elsewhere.

The Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), a private organization that promotes bilateral trade, has also requested that Costa Rica be included among the recipients for the U.S. surplus doses.

Through a letter, AmCham argued that vaccinating more Costa Ricans would help the country reach herd immunity, turn it into a safe tourist destination, and support business.

“Based on the excellent relations and cooperation between the United States and Costa Rica, we respectfully request the U.S. Government to consider Costa Rica as a strategic destination for the donation of vaccines,” said Gisela Sánchez, president of AmCham.

Costa Rica has administered 818,884 vaccine doses — mostly the Pfizer/BioNTech formula — which represents 15.9 doses per 100 residents, far behind the United States.

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