QCOSTARICA – The DHL cargo plane landed Tuesday night at the Juan Santamaria international airport with the largest single shipment of vaccines, with 500,000 doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine against covid-19, donated by the United States.
The shipment was received by President Carlos Alvarado; the Minister of Foreign Relations, Rodolfo Solano; the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas; and the president of the National Emergency Commission (CNE), Alexander Solís.
Also present were the Logistics Manager of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), Esteban Vega de la O; the national coordinator of the Expanded Program on Immunizations, Leandra Abarca, and the United States Embassy in San Jose charge d’affaires, Gloria Berbena.
Casa Presidencial indicated that the donation is the product of diplomatic efforts established for months by the Foreign Ministry, with the technical support of the Ministry of Health, the CCSS and the CNE.
“During his visit last month, the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, spoke with President Alvarado about collaboration to face the covid-19 pandemic.
“Costa Rica reiterates its gratitude to the Government of the United States for this expression of solidarity, which also reaffirms the solid ties of friendship and cooperation between our two countries,” said Foreign Minister Solano.
“We are proud that we can donate these life-saving vaccines as part of our strong partnership with Costa Rica,” said U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Gloria Berbena.
The U.S. Embassy in San Jose, through a statement to the press, said, “The donation of 500,000 COVID-19 doses is in addition to the more than US$4 million worth of field hospitals, ventilators, and other medical supplies already donated by the U.S. government to Costa Rica since the beginning of the pandemic.
“President Biden has said that the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home. The United States is in a position to help others thanks to the ingenuity of U.S. scientists and the resilience and commitment of the American people.”
With this donation, Costa Rica has now received 3,347,435 doses, the majority of purchases made from the Pfizer pharmaceutical, since the first shipment on December 23, 2020.
Some 2.5 million more vaccines through purchase contracts are expected to arrive between this month and September, according to the government’s forecast.
“Without a doubt, this support from the United States Government drives us in the direction that we have been working since last year, protecting the health of our population, protecting all our families, our economy and the country,” said president Alvarado.
According to the Ministry of Health, most of these doses will be used to immunize the 40 to 57-year-old population without risk factors – group 5, the last group in the priority immunization program – with the first dose beginning this Friday, July 16.
The goal is to immunize 4.5 million people before the end of the year.