Monday 17 May 2021

People between 18 and 58 with a risk factor would be vaccinated starting June

AstraZeneca and Covax vaccines are expected to arrive in May, which would speed up the vaccination campaign

QCOSTARICA – If the arrival of vaccines to Costa Rica against Covid-19 continue to without delays, by June the vaccination of Group 3, which includes people between 18 and 58 years old with risk factors, would begin.

Leandra Abarca, coordinator of Immunizations at the CCSS

Currently, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) is completing the vaccination of Group 1 and working through Group 2, people 58 years old and over with or without risk factors, having started with the oldest first, of the five prioritized groups.

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The plan is to move to the next group once 80% to 90% of the immunization of the previous group is completed.

This, however, depends on various factors such as the availability of vaccine doses in the country, the size of the population group to be covered, and the groups of vaccinators in each region.

Until now, the process has advanced differently in each health unit and affects, among other things, the breakdown of its population in each group.

For example, there are areas in which Group 1 has already been completed (first and second dose) and they are fully with Group 2, and others in which both are being simultaneously covered.

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According to Leandra Abarca, coordinator of Immunizations of the CCSS, is estimated that the second and third groups would be vaccinated in the second and third trimesters of the year.

The entry of more doses is what will allow to speed up the vaccination.

So far, only the Pfizer vaccines have been received.

From the first delivery on December 23, 2020, Costa Rica has received nine batches, for a total 472,875 doses to March 9, 2021.

The number is in line with the commitment of 3 million doses the pharmaceutical has with Costa Rica, despite suspending deliveries (worldwide) for almost a month.

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“It is expected that at the end of March the vaccination of Group 1 will end and between May and June we would expect to end with Group 2,” explained Xiomara Badilla, head of Epidemiological Surveillance of the CCSS.

Based on that, Group 3 would begin in June; while there are still no estimates for Groups 4 and 5, only that they will be vaccinated throughout the year.

“The projection of the approach of the remaining groups will basically depend on the amount of vaccine that enters the country and the size of the group to be vaccinated,” said Badilla.

While the arrival of the Pfizer doses continues, some 218,000 doses are expected between April and May from the Covax facility, that is committed to delivering one million vaccines.

“Most likely they will be in May and the assignment that Covax made to the country are from AstraZeneca. As the days go by, they will inform us about other assignment possibilities,” clarified Alexánder Solís, president of the National Emergency Commission (CNE).

If the delivery schedule is maintained, the AstraZeneca doses would begin to be applied in May and would continue until December as more enter the country.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Health has already endorsed the use of this vaccine based on the conditional marketing authorization of the European Medicines Agency, so with its arrival, there would be no need to wait for the application.

The five priority groups:

  1. Frontline personnel, seniors and staff of long-stay centers. December – present
  2. Over 58 years with or without risk factors. February – present
  3. People aged 18 to 58 with risk factors. Estimated to start in June
  4. Teachers, PANI and 911 officials, prisoners. Second and third trimesters of the year.
  5. Workers from 40 to 57 years old who serve the public and students of Health sciences and related technicians who are in the clinical field. Second and third trimesters of the year.



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