Costa Rican leaders on Monday announced the purchase of 3.5 million additional Covid-19 vaccines that will be administered to children and the elderly in 2022.
Some 1.5 million Pfizer doses will be allotted to children ages 5 to 11, while the remaining 2 million will be used as third doses for the elderly and younger adults with health conditions.
“I am proud to announce that we will also protect children between 5 and 11 years old with the Covid-19 vaccine,” President Carlos Alvarado said.
“We have already signed the contract for the purchase of 3.5 million additional doses by 2022. It will be 1.5 million doses for girls and boys from 5 to 11 years old. And 2 million for third doses. They are from Pfizer/BioNTech. Costa Rica, we are moving forward with vaccination!”
In total, Costa Rica has contracted 12.5 million vaccines through agreements with Pfizer, AstraZeneca and the Covax facility. About 1 million doses have been donated to Costa Rica by other countries, including the United States and Canada.
Costa Rica on Monday also began vaccinating teenagers without risk factors against Covid-19. Minors ages 12-17 will join all citizens and residents ages 18 and older in being eligible for the shots.
“[This is] excellent news for our adolescent population, as well as for their mothers, fathers and guardians who we know are eager to have access to vaccines that protect them against Covid-19,” said Daniel Salas, Health Minister, when the news was announced last week.
Some 188,427 adolescents are eligible to begin their vaccination scheme on Monday.
The 12-17 age group receives the Pfizer vaccine with a three-week interval, the Health Ministry says. Minors may be vaccinated at any authorized vaccination center, though ideally they will receive both doses at the same location.
“The availability of vaccines allows us to start with this group and brings us closer to protecting the entire vaccine target population. We have seen the enthusiasm of the youth and their parents for receiving the vaccine and this is great news for everyone,” said Mario Ruiz, medical manager of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS).
“It is at this time that we have to have more faith, hope and solidarity by vaccinating all of us.”
In order to receive their vaccine, children should be accompanied by an adult and bring identification.
As of last Monday, Costa Rica has administered 6,124,445 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Nearly 85% of Costa Rica’s target population (those ages 12 and older) have received at least one dose.
The website https://www.ccss.sa.cr/vacunacion lists authorized vaccination sites across Costa Rica and their hours of operation.
A complete Covid-19 vaccination scheme will be a requirement to participate in most non-essential public activities in Costa Rica starting in January 2022.
Vaccines will be required to enter: Restaurants and food courts; bars and casinos; stores and commercial centers; museums; gyms; hotels; worship sites; event halls; adventure tourism activities; theaters and cinemas; sporting events.