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Adults over 30 can get second vaccine dose after 8 weeks

Adults in Costa Rica who are 30 years or older can receive a second Covid-19 vaccine dose eight weeks after their first, authorities announced Wednesday.

Previously, Costa Rica was utilizing a 12-week interval between doses of both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca shots.

“The decision is made at the request of the Social Security Fund (CCSS), which projects a reduction in mortality and hospitalization by accelerating the placement of second doses,” the Health Ministry explained in a press release.

Those under 30 should maintain the 12-week interval between doses.

The Health Ministry says some individuals will receive the Pfizer formula as their second dose, even if they received AstraZeneca as their first jab. A University of Oxford study found this generates “strong immune response against SARS-CoV2 spike IgG protein,” especially when the Pfizer dose is placed second.

More than 3 million people in Costa Rica have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine.

Who can get vaccinated in Costa Rica?

The following citizens and residents are eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine in Costa Rica:

  • Group 1: Staff and residents at retirement or nursing homes. First responders, including health personnel.
  • Group 2: Costa Rica’s older population, defined here as those ages 58 and up.
  • Group 3: People from 18-58 with risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory illness, kidney disease and obesity, among others.
  • Group 4: Teachers and other staff within the Education Ministry (MEP) or private schools. Imprisoned people and judicial staff. Workers for the 911 service.
  • Group 5: People ages 20-57 without any of the aforementioned risk factors. Note that some locations are vaccinating younger adults and teenagers.

Individuals should bring their identification document (cedula or DIMEX). The vaccine is free, even for those who don’t pay into the Caja. Doses are not widely available to tourists at this time, though some health areas may vaccinate non-resident foreigners. 

Costa Rica is administering the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines. Both comprise two doses. Immunosuppressed individuals will receive a booster (third) dose in 2022.

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