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    Adjustment of the Vaccination Plan against COVID-19 in Costa Rica Now Prioritizes the Older Population

    Micro-planning will be the key, according to health authorities

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    After evaluating various requests, the National Vaccination Commission made adjustments to the immunization campaign against COVID-19 that is taking place in the country. Although the five groups into which the program was divided were maintained, in the case of Group 2, which includes people aged 58 or over, it was defined to start with the population over 80 years of age.

    “Micro-planning is carried out and the Fund will give priority to the oldest population,” informed Roberto Arroba, technical secretary of the National Vaccination Commission. The adjustment will have an impact on a drop-in mortality and hospitalization rates, experts estimate, since 27% of deaths from COVID-19 in Costa Rica occur precisely in patients of that age.

    To call this second group, the Unique Digital Health Record will be used to make the lists and the ebais will announce how to be included in the lists, regardless of whether they are insured persons or not. “It will not be a massive vaccination because there are not enough vaccines to make that call as we normally do,” said Leandra Abarca, coordinator of the Expanded Program of Immunizations of the Fund.

    Another modification that the update brings is that the vaccination of female civil servants who are in the first line of care for the Pandemic (Group 1) and who are breastfeeding was approved. Health workers from the private sector were also included in Group 1, priority will be given to those who work in clinics, hospitals, Emergency services, Intensive Care Units, or care for COVID-19 patients.

    While those who have independent offices, such as doctors, dentists, or pharmacists, who do not treat COVID-19 patients, their vaccination will be coordinated with their respective Professional Associations and are also considered in Group 1. In the case of teachers, who have insisted on advancing their vaccination, the Commission did not make any changes.

    Educators in various groups

    “The educators are in Group 4, but if it is a person who has some other risk factor, for example, over 58 years of age, it will be vaccinated in Group 2 or if it has a chronic disease it goes in Group 3; such that we are going to have a large group of vaccinated people who will already serve as protection,” Arroba clarified.

    Also, there will be protocols already established by the educational authorities with the endorsement of the Ministry of Health and that will significantly reduce the risk of these people and children becoming ill, Arroba added. Each week the Commission will meet to continue analyzing progress and whether further adjustments are required.

    The Updated Groups

    This is how the groups that will be vaccinated against COVID-19 and the percentage of the population they cover are defined:

    1: 4%: Older adults living in care homes and their caregivers, Officials of CCSS, Public and Private health sector, CNE, Red Cross, Police forces (security, traffic, migration, penitentiaries, municipal, OIJ), Officials of these places, breastfeeding health workers from the private sector both from centers and independent practices.

    2: 28%: People aged 58 and over, It will start in adults over 80 years of age.

    3: 52%: People between 18 and 58 years old with a risk factor

    4: 5%: MEP officials, Private education sector, CAI staff, PANI officials, Deprived of liberty, 911 officials

    5: 11%: Health science students and related technicians who are in clinical fields, Workers aged 40 to 57: Taxi drivers, Public bus drivers, People engaged in agriculture, Building, Customer Support, Restaurants, Domestic workers, Communicators

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