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Monday, May 29, 2023

Costa Rica to start vaccinating at-risk younger adults

Costa Rica will start vaccinating younger adults who have at least one Covid-19 risk factor, the Social Security System announced Wednesday.

Areas that have vaccinated at least 80% of elderly adults (defined here as 58 years or older) will start inoculating at-risk 18 to 57-year-olds.

“Our priority is to finish vaccinating the elderly, but we also need to advance in the vaccination process with Group 3 in those health areas that are already close to ending with Group 2,” said Mario Ruíz, medical manager of the Caja.

Among the risk factors that qualify a Costa Rican citizen or resident into Group 3 are: hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, chronic kidney disease, grade III obesity, morbid obesity, cancer, HIV-AIDS and the beneficiaries of organ transplants.

Health areas that can begin vaccinating younger adults are: Coronado, Desamparados, Corralillo, Acosta, Goicoechea, Valverde Vega, Zarcero, Puerto Viejo-Sarapiquí, Parrita, San Rafael, Montes de Oro, Chomes-Monteverde, Garabito, Cóbano, Ciudad Quesada, Guatuso, Los Chiles, Santa Rosa, Jicaral, Hojancha, Osa, Coto Brus and Valle La Estrella.

Appointments will be scheduled by age starting with those between 50 and 57 years old. They will be made through telephone calls from the local health authorities or from the Caja’s contact center (905-2252000).

Individuals with risk factors who manage their condition through private health centers must register via the call center (905-2252000). They must also bring proof of the diagnosis to the appointment.

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. Then, all remaining adults.

Costa Rica is currently vaccinating Groups 1 and 2 in the above list. Vaccines are free through the Social Security System and are not available for private purchase,

Vaccinations are administered at EBAIS, which are the public-health clinics that comprise part of Costa Rica’s national healthcare system.

Each individual EBAIS manages a list of people who live in their jurisdiction. This list is used to identify priority individuals and to schedule their vaccine appointments.

If you are in one of the priority groups, you should contact your local EBAIS, make sure they have your contact information, and confirm you’re on their list.

For EBAIS contact information, click here.

The “Grupos de vacunación por Áreas de Salud y Contacto” section lists all of the hundreds of EBAIS across Costa Rica and shows which populations they are currently vaccinating (e.g. between 70 and 80 years old, between 58 and 64 years old, etc.).

Further down the page, the “Información de Contacto” section lists the appropriate contact information (phone number and email address) for each EBAIS.

To track vaccine shipments, click here.

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