Friday 27 January 2023

Covid-19 in Costa Rica: country will receive 33,150 vaccines per week during January

Health authorities foresee weekly dose increases in February while purchases progress for a progressive vaccination campaign, throughout 2021, and whose goal is to reach three million individuals

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27 January 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – It’s been days since we’ve gotten any numbers on the state of the covid-19. The last report published was on Thursday, December 24. Though Friday, December 25, was a holiday, there was not the usual report.

We will chalk up the lack of reporting on that Health officials have been busy with vaccination program that began Thursday morning. The epidemiological report follows the update on the vaccination.

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The Government of Costa Rica reported this Tuesday, December 29, that during January of next year, 33,150 doses of covid-19 vaccines will be received per week, enough to serve 16,575 people and, from February, the supply would grow even more.

The doses of the drug developed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer / BioNTech will be imported from Belgium, Esteban Vega de la O, Logistics Manager of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) confirmed.

In addition, the spokesperson added that, this week, most likely tomorrow, Wednesday, December 30, another 11,700 doses will arrive. A first batch of 9,750 vaccines arrived on Wednesday, December 23.

According to the forecast of the CCSS spokesperson, the country will close January with 132,600 vaccines.

In total, Costa Rica purchased three million dosers from Pfizer / BioNTech for 1.5 million people as part of a planned total purchase of six million doses for a total of three million people and whose inoculation will be progressive throughout 2021.

The entire vaccination process involves a planned expenditure of US$70.7 million for the doses, said Alexánder Solís, president of the National Commission for Risk Prevention and Emergency Care (CNE).

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A person who is vaccinated will receive a second dose at 21 days. After that, it may take 15 days for the immune system to raise its defenses.

Apart from this, Solís reported a series of preparations for the vaccination campaign:

  • The purchase of 13 ultra low temperature freezers with 550 liters capacity and one freezer with 750 liters capacity
  • Six million hypodermic syringes
  • Six million hypodermic needles
  • Three million cotton swabs
  • Design and construction of a cold room in Storage and Distribution (ALDI) at Refrigeración Industrial Beirute S. A.

As for the freezers, syringes, needles and cotton, these supplies will be delivered in the first two months of 2021, to reinforce the vaccination process that began on December 24.

In the case of the cold room, which will allow the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) to store and distribute vaccines, the design of plans and construction will begin in the first half of January.

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Solís added that the tender for the purchase of 50,000 surgical masks will be published soon and a new process will be opened for the purchase of black and red waste bags.

While the freezers enter the country (which is scheduled for next February) the vaccines are preserved in freezers provided by the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and by the Technological Institute of Costa Rica (Tec).

These kits can reach the temperatures necessary to preserve the vaccines. Tec donated a freezer with capacity for 39,000 doses and UCR donated three with capacity for 50,000 doses each.

“In this way we can guarantee the ability to receive the doses and distribute them every week to the vaccination centers,” said Vega de la O.

Vaccination strategy

Leandra Abarca, coordinator of the CCSS Expanded Immunization Program, confirmed that the vaccine is currently being administered in 10 sites. These include long-stay homes such as nursing homes for the elderly and health centers such as the Specialized Center for Covid-19 Care (CEACO).

“As we have more vaccine available, we will be able to cover, little by little, all the establishments and the entire population that needs to be protected against covid-19,” the specialist pointed out.

Abarca added that this first group will last approximately six weeks being vaccinated. This initial vaccination has a peculiarity: they are carried out in captive groups, that is, individuals who spend almost the whole day in one place; For this reason, it is done in situ, on the spot, not in health facilities.

So far, there have been no dosing problems or serious adverse events.

The CCSS director reminds people not to attend the Ebáis or clinics at this time, because they are not vaccinating in these places yet.

“When the time comes we will make the call through the media and local strategies. It will be announced by “perifoneo” (mobile vehicles with speakers), by messages in the churches and in the communities,” specified Abarca.

The specialist also pointed out that at this time there are also many things that are unknown about the vaccine, for example, how long they will protect. This is so because it is a new vaccine for a disease that is not yet fully understood.

There are two aspects that depend on how the vaccine protects. One is the speed with which the virus mutates. In the case of the influenza virus, for example, it does so very quickly and therefore we require a vaccine every year.

The other aspect is how long the antibodies and defense cells in charge of “recognizing” the virus and fighting against it in case of re-exposure to it last. This is not yet fully understood. The antibodies are believed to last for several months, but how long has not been stipulated.

Based on these data (which according to Abarca will be better understood in mid-2021), decisions would be made on the periodicity with which the inoculation would be necessary.

Epidemiological report

Costa Rica has accumulated 4,857 new cases of the coronavirus since Thursday, December 24, with which the country already has 166,799 registered cases.

On December 24, 1,048 new infections were reported, another 1,072 on December 25, 545 cases on Saturday, 597 on Sunday, 558 more on Monday and an additional 1,037 this Tuesday.

The accumulated total is now 166,799 cases. A total of 130,989 persons have recovered are counted, of which 64,053 are women and 66,936 are men.

At the end of these six days, 91 deaths were added, the total deaths now reaching 2,156.

On Thursday 21 deaths were reported, on Friday 17, on Saturday there were 14, on Sunday there were 17 deaths, on Monday there were 10 and this Tuesday 12 deaths were reported.

In total, Costa Rica has reached 2,156 deaths related to covid-19: 815 women and 1,341 men, with an age range of nine to 101 years.

On Tuesday, 628 people remain hospitalized with 245 of them in intensive care whose ages range from zero to 93 years.

The contagion rate is 0.95 (a drop from 1.02), as indicated by the Universidad Hispanoamericana.

Click here for our COVID-19 timeline in Costa Rica.

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