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Costa Rica receives first direct shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines

May 24, 2021

Costa Rica on Sunday received 204,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the country’s first direct shipment from that pharmaceutical.

In total, the country has now received nearly 2 million vaccine doses:

  • 1.6 million directly purchased from from Pfizer/BioNTech (27% of the 6 million doses contracted).
  • 204,000 doses directly purchased from AstraZeneca (20% of the 1 million doses contracted).
  • 132,000 AstraZeneca doses purchased through the World Health Organization-backed Covax facility (6% of the 2 million doses contracted).

Costa Rica, a country of 5 million, has contracts for more than 9 million vaccines, enough for 4.5 million people.

The country imported a total of 378,330 vaccine doses last week, a record. Costa Rica has received more than 715,000 doses in May, already the most for a single month.

“This is synonymous with the great efforts that are being made to achieve the goals that will help us to get ahead of this pandemic that has put us to the test. This is an effort in which we all join in, in which each member in society contributes, in which, in addition to the vaccination campaign, we need the care of all citizens,” said President Carlos Alvarado.

Costa Rica hopes to vaccinate 3.5 million people by the end of 2021; it has administered 1.25 million doses across 721,000 people as of May 17.

Costa Rica authorized the AstraZeneca vaccine based on its authorization by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The formula remains authorized for use in the European Union.

The vaccine comprises an adenovirus that has been modified to contain the gene for making a protein from SARS-CoV-2. It does not contain the coronavirus and cannot cause Covid-19.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has a “possible link to very rare cases of unusual blood clots,” the EMA says, but its benefits in preventing Covid-19 “are greater than its risks.”

The Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines are “highly effective” against coronavirus variants first detected in India and the United Kingdom, health officials in England said Saturday.

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