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HomeTopicsHealthCosta Rica Launches Nationwide Measles Vaccination Campaign for Children

Costa Rica Launches Nationwide Measles Vaccination Campaign for Children

The Ministry of Health, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) will conduct a vaccination campaign aimed at reaching 563,000 minors. Experts from PAHO emphasize the importance of achieving 95% coverage for children, given the regional statistics.

“We cannot settle for 95% coverage for children while accepting lower percentages in other groups. Coverage must be optimal and uniform,” stated Elvis Delgado, a physician with CCSS.

According to Roberto Tijerino of the Ministry of Health’s Vaccination Commission, situations like the pandemic have diminished vaccination application and coverage in both the country and the region.

“We’ve been a leading country, achieving over 95% coverage, but for measles, we only reached 81%. After five years, we’ve observed that vaccination campaigns haven’t met our expectations; there are still unvaccinated children,” he remarked. The strategy aims to shield minors from measles, rubella, and mumps through a combined MMR vaccine.

The campaign will commence on April 1st, targeting children aged 15 months to 10 years. CCSS personnel will visit schools, shelters, and homes to administer vaccines to children from 15 months to under 10 years old. Vaccination stations will also be set up in health facilities, educational institutions, and public venues like parks.

According to CCSS, the campaign will run until May 24th. If the target population of 95% is not reached, efforts will continue for an additional month.

This initiative responds to the epidemiological alert for measles in Latin America issued by PAHO due to low coverage of the first and second doses of the MMR vaccine, coupled with the global rise in measles cases and imported cases in regional countries.

Regarding the campaign logistics, Delgado clarified that it will be free of charge. Ministry of Health and CCSS personnel will visit various locations including schools, Cencinai centers, shelters, and conduct house-to-house visits to vaccinate children aged 15 months to under 10 years.

“We urge parents to understand the importance of vaccinating their children to prevent measles, which poses severe risks to them. Our goal is to safeguard children and prevent them from being at risk of death from this disease,” Tijerino emphasized.

According to PAHO, both in Costa Rica and globally, measles cases and deaths increased in 2022 and 2023.

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