Luz Ania Carrillo Vargas, 83 and her mother, doña Licitania Vargas Arce, 103, were among the elderly to get a visit at their home from an official of the Ciudad Quesada health area, to vaccinate them against the seasonal flu.
Sitting in an armchair in her house, doña Licitania sat calmly and with patience endured the brief prick of the needle.
Both women are now protected against the influenza virus, under the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) annual national vaccination campaign against influenza throughout the country, that began on Monday and will continue for the next two months, ending on July 3.
Usually, the program is spread over a few weeks, but due to the coronavirus measures, the program is extended to ensure no one misses out.
Doña Licitania and her daughter are an example of the CCSS protecting the vulnerable in this pandemic, included in the special home vaccination program implemented by the health area of that northern town.
“The fact that they identified us as people at risk, we cannot go to the vaccination center,” said Luz Ania. “I feel great satisfaction for the Costa Rican health system because since I can remember all the needs of the population have been met,” added the woman.
The home vaccination program benefits seniors and other high-risk people who live far from the Ebaís (local clinic) or who, due to some condition, cannot travel to the vaccination center.
The CCSS acquired a total of 1.3 million doses for this year.
Thais Ching, director of the Ciudad Quesada health area, explained that the home vaccination program seeks to maintain social distancing in patients with special conditions.
“We have identified very high-risk patients, bedridden people, and seniors, such as this 103-year-old mother and her 83-year-old daughter, to vaccinate them at home.
“We keep all the measures established by the authorities of the Ministry of Health and the CCSS and a small team of health professionals make the scheduled visits,” Ching explained.
Leandra Abarca Gómez, from the CCSS Epidemiological Surveillance subarea, said that this vaccination cycle represents a challenge for both the institution and the population.
She noted that, on this occasion, the process requires a greater organization to apply the vaccine to the specific population without increasing their risk of covid-19 infection.
“Strategic guidelines were established to regulate the flow of people in the establishments and a schedule for the application of the vaccine was established in order of last names.
“In addition, some health areas develop methodologies that complement the flow by last name and make it easier for people at risk to get closer get the vaccine,” said Abarca.
Who will receive the vaccine in 2020?
- All children between three years old and less than seven years old.
- All people from 7 to 58 years old part of the risk groups, that is, people with diabetes, heart disease, respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and people with cancer. It also includes people with HIV, with morbid obesity, pregnant women, and people with Down syndrome.
- All adults over 59 years of age.
The vaccine is free of charge to this segment of the population.
However, if you are not part of the population that will receive the vaccines at the CCSS, take into account that they are already available at private hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies.
The average cost of the vaccine in private centers is ¢10,000 colones.