QCOSTARICA – To streamline the process, the 1,200 private pharmacies in the Costa Rica have proposed to join the vaccination campaign against Covid-19.
This and other proposals was organized by the Cámara de la Salud (Chamber of Health).
What is sought is that through public-private partnerships all existing resources are used to be able to complete the immunization campaign as soon as possible.
“The 1,200 private pharmacies in the country have all the characteristics, they are regulated and it is a resource that is there, that is being underused and well deserves an opportunity to participate not only from the health point of view, but also in the strengthening of the economy of the country,” explained Rodrigo Salas, president, Grupo Farmanova Intermed.
One of the greatest contributions private pharmacies can provide is the issue of maintaining the cold chain, since their refridgerators are duly validated, receiving stress tests that certify their operation in case of power outages and have alarms that warn if any of the doors were left open.
In addition, they are monitored 24/7 by highly qualified and calibrated sensors and equipment in the distribution process.
Likewise, they have special equipment such as qualified coolers in a specific configuration and allow to maintain the cold chain for more than 48 hours.
These conditions would allow deliveries of the vaccine outside the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) and even guarantee that, if the delivery is not made, the product can return to the warehouse in the conditions in which it left.
“As a private sector, we have the capacity, the infrastructure, the health professionals trained for it. We are in the best position to implement the controls that the Ministry of Health considers so that when the conditions occur, the private sector can also handle these vaccines. And that will mean an important relief for the institution (the CCSS) from an operational and economic point of view,” said Bivian Pereira, manager of regulatory affairs at Cuestamoras Salud, owner of Cefa, a major importer and distributor of medicines in Costa Rica and Nicaragua; and Fischel Drugstores, the lLeading drugstore chain with the largest number of stores in Costa Rica.
Regarding this aspect, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) does not rule out using the private sector.
“In the case of the vaccine, these alliances are going to be determined by the volume of doses that we have in the country. At the moment we have a significant volume that our installed distribution and storage capacity is insufficient, obviously we have to start to visualize with a perspective of breaking paradigms and innovating in what way we can accelerate the processes,” stated Esteban Vega de la O, Manager of Logistics at the CCSS.
At the moment in Costa Rica there is a volume of doses already planned with a monthly ceiling that Pfizer has set, based on global demand.
Throughout the year the vaccination process against Covid-19 will be carried out.
Currently, three shipments were received: a batch of 9,750 doses on December 23, a batch of 11,700 doses on December 30, and a third batch of 33,150 doses on January 5.
Shipments are expected weekly, for a total of 132,000 doses for January.
Caja will be using its central, regional and local vehicle fleet to distribute the vaccine on time as it enters the country; currently using five freezers from the UCR and TEC for a total storage capacity of 239,000 doses