On Sunday 2,455 people were vaccinated, the first dose of treatment, according to the Social Security Immunization Program.
- Social Security photo -

Published Monday, January 4, 2021

Covid-19 vaccine for 77,000-plus people in January

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Social Security announced the expected arrival this month of 154,050 doses of the vaccine against covid-19, purchased from the companies Pfizer and BioNTech, that will allow the application of two doses to 77,025 people. This provides protection against the virus for 1.5% of the country's population.

On Sunday 2,455 people were vaccinated, the first dose of treatment, according to the Social Security Immunization Program.

According to Esteban Vega, Logistics Manager of the institution, starting this month there is a scheduled weekly arrival to the country of approximately 33,000 doses per cargo.

The first shipment of 9,750 doses of vaccines arrived on Dec. 23. A week later, on Dec. 30, the second shipment arrived with 11,700 doses of the coveted vaccine.

According to Vega, the weekly cargo arrivals of vaccines depend on the capacity of companies to provide the treatment at a global level.
Weekly doses will also be distributed to community clinics and hospitals in the country. Vaccines must keep in storage at a requirement of -70 degrees Celsius (approximately 158 degrees Fahrenheit). Vaccinations will go to people already selected by the health authorities.

The institution, with the collaboration of the Technological University and the University of Costa Rica, has a storage capacity of 239,000 doses, which is not enough space for storing the vaccines.

The National Emergency Commission announced a purchase of 14 freezers, which will arrive in the country in February, with which 838,000 doses can be stored.

The limitations in arrival and storage of the doses are some of the main reasons why a massive vaccination campaign will not be carried out for the entire country. Instead, the vaccines will be applied to the people at high risk of contagion or death.

There are five selected groups set to receive the highly expected vaccine against covid-19.

The elderly who live in nursing homes, the nursing home workers, health workers, and the police force, will be the first to receive the vaccine. The second set of people selected to get vaccines are those 58-years-old or older, regardless of whether or not they have any risk factors.

A third group of the population that will receive the vaccine are people between the ages of 18 and 58 who present certain risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, chronic kidney disease, obesity and cancer. A fourth group of the population that will receive the vaccine are employees from the Ministry of Public Education, employees of the private education system, employees of youth shelters and the workers and prisoners of the penitentiary system. 

The last group to be vaccinated will be health science students, technicians who work at Social Security and people between the ages of 40 and 57. Also, those who carry out work activities related to contact with people or whose activity is of great importance for the productive sector of the country.

Authorities pre-identified the groups, so people calling hospitals to get on “the list” will not be vaccinated, unless they’ve already been notified. Leandra Abarca, from Social Security, explained that each local public clinic has already identified the people at risk.
When the clinics have the doses, the health workers will proceed to inform its listed people of the date to receive the vaccine, through email, or communicated in public places such as churches, or local media.

Social Security will continue to provide updates about the virus and the vaccination campaign against covid-19 that has infected almost 170,000 people and caused more than 2,000 deaths in the country.

The Ministry of Health reported on Friday the updated statistics of the advance of the virus.

1,207 new covid-19 cases are reported to bring the total to 35,213 current active cases.

22,006 foreign-born people have been infected, totaling 169,321 cases since March, approximately 13% of the total cases. Of these, authorities confirmed the death of 32 foreign-born patients. But since October, there is no updated information about foreign-born deaths due to covid-19.

• 590 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 239 patients are in ICU’s in delicate health conditions (ages range from 1 to 93-years-old). And 351 patients are in recovery rooms. Many of the remaining infected patients are quarantined in their homes.

• 131,923 coronavirus patients have fully recovered, a 79% recovery rate of the total cases since March.

495,225 covid-19 tests have been performed in Costa Rica since March, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering of Johns Hopkins University in the United States.

2,185 deaths are listed as covid-19 related, approximately 1.3% death rate of the total cases since March. Of these are 823 women and 1,362 men. The ages range from a 2-year-old to a 101-year-old.

Readers can see the updated number of total patients in each district at the National Distance Education University on its Covid-19 Map.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the pandemic has killed more than 1.8 million people worldwide.

How should health authorities speed up the vaccination campaign against covid-19?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com


Facebook110217.jpg twitter110217.jpg