Friday 3 February 2023

U.S. Shortchanges Costa Rica on Covid-19 Vaccines

The United States confirms will send 500,000 vaccines against covid-19 to Costa Rica

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QCOSTARICA (OPINION) – The United States Embassy in San José confirmed this Monday that it will donate 500,000 doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech covid-19 vaccine to Costa Rica.

While the Embassy confirmed the quantity pharmaceutical company of origin, it did not specify the exact date of delivery; only indicated that it will be in the next few days.

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This donation was made known last Friday by Gloria Berbena, United States Chargé d’Affaires in Costa Rica.

“I am pleased to announce that the United States is preparing to send vaccines to Costa Rica next week,” the diplomat said in a brief message on her Twitter account.

“We are very pleased with the completion that for weeks has been taking place with the Government of the United States to make this important donation.

“This amount of doses is equivalent to 20% of those that the country has placed so far and will allow us to make a significant acceleration of vaccination, very significantly, this month,” said Agustín Castro Solano, Minister of Communication.

The arrival of the vaccines would allow the inoculation of Group 5 made up of people from 12 to 57 years old without risk factors, to begin at the end of July,  as announced by the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas Peraza, last week.

“This opening is closer and closer, but it depends on the availability of vaccines,” said the Minister of Health at a press conference on Tuesday, July 6.

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The donation will be added to more than 2.5 million doses that will arrive through purchase contracts between this month and September, according to the government’s forecast.

As of last Thursday, Costa Rica had received 2.8 million doses: 2.2 million purchased from Pfizer / BioNTech, 408,000 doses purchased from AstraZeneca, and 173,000 through the multilateral Covax mechanism.

As of July 5, 1.7 million people have received at least one dose; Of these, 816,931 already have their complete scheme, according to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS). An update is expected tomorrow, July 13.

According to the Minister of Communication, the arrival of the aid resulted from the joint work of the Foreign Ministry and the United States Embassy in San Jose, ​​as well as the technical teams that have collaborated to overcome all logistical, legal and contractual aspects.

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While 500,000 doses are nothing to sneeze at, other Central American countries have received more, up to three times more to be exact.

Last week, El Salvador received 1.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine donated by the U.S.through the COVAX initiative.

On July 2, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala reported the donation of 1.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccines, arriving via a specially formatted American Airlines aircraft that departed Chicago on Thursday, July 8.

“We are working day and night to deliver doses in Guatemala as quickly as possible to save lives,” said U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala, William Popp.

U.S. donation of vaccines arrival in Honduras. From WHO/PAHO in June 2021

On June 27, the U.S. donated 1.5 million doses to Honduras, a country with the lowest vaccination rates in Latin America.


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