QCOSTARICA – Applying 150,000 doses per week of the covid-19 vaccine and establishing stricter vehicle restrictions temporarily, are the two main proposals of the College of Physicians and Surgeons to flatten the growing contagion curve.
The organization considers that this measure would allow not only take pressure off the health system, but also to achieve herd immunity by the end of the year.
“Vaccines are not a new issue for Costa Rica, we have been applying them for 50 years and historical data from the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) show that in other vaccination campaigns they have had the capacity to vaccinate the population in a timely manner,” explained Mauricio Guardia, president of the Colegio de Médicos y Cirujanos.
According to their estimates, the Caja has received 60,000 doses per week, on average, and after five months only a little over 1 million people have been vaccinated. According to CCSS data as of May 10, 2021, a total of 1,093,931 people have had their jab, of them 657,301 have received their first dose and 436,630 their second.
“Applying simple calculations, if we apply150,000 vaccines per week, we could cover two and a half million people between now and December. That means that we would achieve the necessary coverage to reactivate all commercial activities in the country,” added the doctor.
In his opinion, the Caja has all the necessary tools to achieve this efficiency in the inoculation, since it has the infrastructure, trained personnel, the Edus system and the commitment of the workers.
According to Guardia, he said, the political will is required to bring the necessary doses and for the Government to undertake the task “seriously of getting them.”
To expedite the process, doctors consider that there should be vaccinations every day, including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, from 7 am to 7 pm, in all public access sites, for example, parking lots, professional associations and facilities of private companies.
In addition, it recommends distributing the doses according to the number of the population and the ages of the people in each health area.
It also proposes evaluating vaccination without an appointment or insurance (currently citizens and legal residents do not need to be insured with the Caja, only registered in the health area).
To reduce the spread of the virus, the College of Physicians also proposes to tighten the vehicle restriction temporarily, so that vehicles circulate only one day during the week and one of the two days of the weekend as follows:
The proposal is for vehicles with plates ending in:
- 1 and 2 CAN circulate on Mondays
- 3 and 4 CAN circulate on Tuesdays
- 5 and 6 CAN circulate on Wednesdays
- 7 and 8 CAN circulate on Thursdays
- 9 and0 CAN circulate on Fridays
- Even ending (0, 2, 4, 6 & 8) CAN circulate on Saturdays
- Odd ending (1, 3, 5, 7, & 9 ) CAN circulate on Sundays
Currently, cannot circulate one day during the week and one of the two days on weekends.
In addition, the College of Physicians and Surgeons proposes that a PCR test be applied to all foreigners who enter the country, regardless of they arrive by air, land or sea.
“We are aware that tourism urgently needs the reactivation of its activity, however, we are experiencing a reality of saturation in hospitals. For this reason, it is urgent to implement the requirement of the PCR test for tourists, which guarantees that they will not end up recharging social security,” added Guardia.
Read more: San Jose airport how has rapid covid-19 testing for travelers
Up to week, the country has received 1,505,895 doses corresponding to 19 deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine and one delivery of 43,000 doses of the AstraZeneca, through the Covax mechanism.
Since mid-April, the Vaccination Commission established that the reserve of vaccines for the second dose would be reduced from three to one week in order to expedite the process.
Last Tuesday, the Presidency announced the purchase of two million additional doses from Pfizer that will begin to arrive in July, for a total of 9 million doses (6 million from Pfizer and the balance from AstraZeneca and the COVAX Facility).
In addition, President Carlos Alvarado asked his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, for a vaccine loan to speed up the process.
Alvarado stated during his third annual report to the Legislative Assembly, on May 4, that the country could achieve herd immunity by the end of the year.
Also, the AmCham – Costa Rican North American Chamber of Commerce – launched a petition addressed to Joe Biden (US President) to donate at least 1,500,000 Covid-19 vaccines to Costa Rica, that would accelerate the vaccination process to achieve herd immunity, protect the citizens and reactivate the Costa Rican economy.
Join the 17,451 people who has so far signed. Sign the petition here.
Note; This report was updated at 6:51 am, with the news that a lot of 88,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine landed early this Friday morning at the Juan Santamaria international airport (San Jose). This is the second delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the first was of 43,000 doses.