QCOSTARICA – Seniors and long-stay center workers, as well as first responders, will be the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in Costa Rica starting next year.
“The health teams are already waiting for the delivery of this product to start vaccination. Very soon we could start with a small number of doses, because we are not going to have a large number. It is going to go gradually, but we are ready so that, by the time the vaccine arrives, we can start as soon as possible, ” said the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, during Friday’s press conference.
The minister did not specify dates, and so far has indicated that it will be in the first quarter of 2021.
According to the risk criteria established by the National Vaccination and Epidemiology Commission, both the risk of becoming seriously ill and dying, as well as the risk of becoming infected and infecting other people, vaccination against Covid-19 is divided into five groups.
The FIRST GROUP is made up of elderly people residing in a long-stay center, and those who work in these places and health, police and emergency personnel. These front-line personnel are made up of: the workers of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), the Ministry of Health, the personnel who work in private hospitals, the National Emergency Commission, Firefighters, the Cruz Roja (Red Cross) and police forces (Transito, Immigration, Prisons, Municipalities and the Organismo de Investigación Judicial- (OIJ).
The SECOND GROUP is made up of people 58 years of age or older, regardless of whether or not they have any risk factors. Age verification will be made through the national or residence card (cedual or DIMEX).
The THIRD GROUP is made up of people between 18 and 58 years old who present some risk factor such as: hypertensive, diabetic, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, chronic kidney disease, obesity grade III and morbid, cancer patients.
The FOURTH GROUP will be the officials of the Ministry of Public Education, as well as the private education sector and the staff of the comprehensive care centers (CAI) and shelters of the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (PANI), prisoners and the 9-1-1 Emergency System.
The FIFTH GROUP is made up of the health sciences students and related technicians in clinical fields of the CCSS, as well as the population aged 40 to 57 who do not have other of the risks previously described, but who carry out work activities related to contact with people or impact on the productive sector, such as: agriculture, construction, customer service, restaurants, domestic workers, among others.
Distribution of the vaccines for each of the groups is made up as follows:
- the first group 4%,
- the second group 28%,
- the third group 52%,
- the fourth group 5% and
- the fifth group 11%.
Minister Salas indicated that the start and end dates of vaccination for each group will depend on the delivery of vaccines by pharmaceutical companies. He stated that with the vaccination of three million people throughout 2021, 80% of the population that could receive the drug would be protected (excluding minors, pregnant or lactating women).
The Minister also emphasized that both the Pfizer and Astra Zeneca vaccines require two doses, separated between them by 21 days in the first case and 28 days in the second, so it is vital that the population understand that to achieve immunity, it is necessary that they complete the two-dose schedule and that 15 days must also elapse after the second dose is placed, for the development of antibodies.
For his part, Roberto Arroba, Coordinator of Immunizations of the Ministry of Health and secretary of the National Commission for Vaccination and Epidemiology, indicated that people who have overcome COVID-19 can receive the vaccine, 90 days after having recovered from the disease and complying with the risk criteria described above.
Non-legal residents such as tourists and perpetual tourists will not be vaccinated at this time, or ever for that matter.
The vaccine is expected to go on sale in Costa Rican pharmacies and the private health sector in the second half of 2021, depends on regulations and protocols.
Myths & Facts
The vaccine will not be mandatory in Costa Rica.
The vaccine DOES NOT:
- Cause sterility
- Cause autism
- Modify DNA to produce other diseases
- Contain coronavirus
- Contain microchips