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Costa Rica joins call for equitable vaccine access worldwide

President Carlos Alvarado and Daniel Salas
Photo by Julieth Méndez / Casa Presidencial.

President Carlos Alvarado was among seven Latin American leaders who signed an open letter that asks for countries with excess Covid-19 vaccines to distribute doses equitably with the rest of the world.

“[We] vehemently call on those countries that have excess doses or that have already vaccinated their population at risk, to implement measures so that these surpluses are distributed equitably and immediately,” the letter reads. 

The communication was signed by President Alvarado; Alberto Fernández, president of Argentina; Andrew Michael Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica; Luis Alberto Arce Catacora, President of Bolivia; Guillermo Lasso Mendoza, President of Ecuador; Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou, President of Uruguay; and Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico.

The leaders note that more than half of vaccines administered worldwide correspond to the five countries that account for 50% of global GDP.

“No one will be safe until we are all safe. Facing and recovering from the pandemic will only be possible when vaccines reach at-risk populations around the world,” the document continues. 

Some countries, such as the United States, have pledged to distribute surplus vaccines. U.S. President Joe Biden says the North American country will share 80 million doses through the Covax facility, a WHO-backed initiative.

“There is no diplomatic way to say it: a small group of countries that make and buy the majority of the world’s vaccines control the fate of the rest of the world,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a speech Monday.

Costa Rica has administered 1.25 million vaccine doses, or 25 per 100 residents. The country has received just 22% of the 9 million total doses it has contracted through Pfizer, AstraZeneca and the Covax facility.

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