Friday 22 January 2021

When can the Covid-19 vaccine be purchased at a pharmacy in Costa Rica?

Caja has priority and exclusivity for the moment; Once available in the market, companies could campaign for their collaborators as is done with influenza

QCOSTARICA – Purchasing the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Costa Rican pharmacies is foreseen in the second half of the year, at the earliest, while acquiring the vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech in the market will have to wait until 2022.

The vaccine is expected to be available for purchase at private pharmacies in the second half of the year at the earliest. Shuttestock

“We call this first phase of the development and production process of our Covid-19 vaccine the ‘pandemic phase’, this means that for 2020 and 2021 all the efforts of Pfizer/BioNTech are aimed at working directly with health authorities and the governments of each country, to achieve the greatest impact and accessibility possible in the population, indicated the pharmaceutical company.

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During that pandemic phase, the Covid-19 vaccine is not planned to be available in the private sector, it clarifies.

However, in the private sector it is expected that, with the approval of more vaccines, these waiting times to have them available for purchase will be shorter.

“The information we receive from drug distributors, pharmaceutical laboratories at this time are only talking with health authorities and have not opened the possibility of establishing agreements with private entities. Possibly as more vaccines are approved (AstraZeneca, Moderna and others) it will open more quickly the possibility of having private vaccination options,” said Massimo Manzi, executive director of the Cámara de la Salud (Chamber of Health).

On Monday, the Cámara proposed that the 1,200 private pharmacies in Costa Rica join the vaccination campaign against Covid-19.

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Currently, the exclusivity for the moment belongs to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), commonly known as the “Caja”.

“It may be that, at some point in 2021, in advance of availability (of doses) it will also be available in the private sector, but in the first instance it will be handled exclusively through the application logistics of the Caja,” said Daniel Salas, Health Minister.

Once the banner is raised for the sale of the Covid-19 vaccine in the private sector, companies could start their own immunization campaigns for their workers, as many do today with influenza.

Read more: AstraZeneca vaccine to arrive in Costa Rica at the end of March

In terms of costs, the value of the vaccine in the private sector is not yet certain.

At the moment, the doses that Costa Rica has purchased have a value between US$5 and US$12 per unit.

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In total, Costa Rica has purchased six million doses to vaccinate 3 million people through agreements with the Covax mechanism (2 million doses at US$11 per unit) and pharmaceutical companies: one million from AstraZeneca and Oxford at US$5 per unit and 3 million doses from Pfizer/Biontech, the only pharmaceutical to start shipping the vaccine in Costa Rica, at US$12 per unit.


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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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