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Costa Rica
Friday, October 15, 2021

Costa Rica doesn’t (officially) offer Covid vaccines to tourists

Costa Rica is offering Covid-19 vaccines to citizens, residents and migrants, but most tourists aren’t officially eligible for the shots, authorities said.

“It should be categorically clear: Vaccine tourism does not exist in Costa Rica, nor are we promoting it,” said Agustín Castro, Communications Minister.

“Migrants in an irregular status can be vaccinated, but they must demonstrate their roots in the country in the corresponding health area.”

While some tourists have reported receiving vaccines in Costa Rica, the country’s official policy remains that only those with legal permanence and undocumented migrants who have resided here long-term are eligible.

Migrants with legal status, including refugees and refugee applicants, should present their identification documents (e.g. DIMEX, refugee card) in order to receive a vaccine.

Undocumented migrants or those with an irregular status must demonstrate their long-term permanence in Costa Rica. Some examples of accepted proof:

  • Inclusion in an EDUS Family File.
  • Record of children enrolled in local schools.
  • Note from an employer indicating the period of time worked.
  • Proof of regular rent payments.
  • Property ownership.
  • Any other document that indicates the stay of the person in Costa Rica for several years.

If an individual has not previously used CCSS services, they should first visit their local Caja offices for registration and later go to the vaccination center, authorities say. Insurance is not a requirement for vaccination, and vaccines are free.

All the details of the migratory categories and vaccine requirements can be found in the Manual of Procedures for the execution of vaccination against Covid-19 available on the website of the CCSS: www.ccss.sa.cr/vacunacion (Link opens a PDF.)

Costa Rica has administered nearly 5.3 million Covid-19 vaccines, health authorities reported this week.

The official tracker shows 5,278,407 vaccines have been administered in Costa Rica, comprising 3.27 million first doses and 2 million second doses. About 40% of the population has been fully inoculated.

At 102.2 jabs per 100 residents, Costa Rica’s vaccination rate is well above the global average but behind El Salvador and Panama for the highest rate in Central America.

Who can get vaccinated in Costa Rica?

All citizens and residents who are adults (18+) or who are teenagers (12+) with risk factors are eligible for the vaccine. Migrants are also eligible, as detailed above. Click here for a list of Covid-19 vaccination sites in Costa Rica.

Doses are not officially 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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