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Vaccines working to reduce Covid mortality, Health Ministry says

The Health Ministry says just .023% of fully vaccinated Costa Ricans have died of Covid-19 or related causes, adding that only 1.5 in 10,000 inoculated people have required ICU hospitalization.

These figures were shared Friday by the Health Ministry and Social Security System (Caja) and will be updated each month.

Across more than 864,500 fully vaccinated people in Costa Rica: 9,236 have tested positive for Covid-19; 704 have required hospitalization (.08%), of whom 128 (.015%) were admitted to an ICU; and 199 people have died related to Covid-19 (.023%).

The Health Ministry didn’t provide comparison data of outcomes for unvaccinated people. However, since Costa Rica began administering vaccines last Christmas Eve, the country has registered:

  • More than 292,000 total Covid-19 cases.
  • 3,328 total deaths related to Covid-19.
  • A daily average of 746 people hospitalized with Covid-19.

“These data constitute national statistical evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines in reducing the risk of severe complications and the risk of death,” said the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas.

Hypertension, diabetes and lung disease remain among the primary comorbidities for people who died related to Covid-19, even among the vaccinated, the Health Ministry says.

Costa Rica’s public Covid-19 data, updated daily, does not identify whether or not patients are vaccinated. Side effects related to the vaccine are exceedingly rare, the Health Ministry says.

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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