Costa Rica aspires to make a first purchase of three million doses of vaccines against Covid-19, which would be used to give priority coverage to health personnel and people with risk factors such as the elderly. This was confirmed by the executive president of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), Román Macaya, this August 31.
“We are seeing how the country can be incorporated into a scheme where we guarantee, at least, a good amount of initial dose to be able to vaccinate older adults, health workers and people with risk factors first,” he said.
Macaya stated that there are several vaccine projects in development and, even, that it is said that by the end of 2020 there will be one approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration of the United States) or some other international organism of high sanitary surveillance. In any case, he stressed, once that happens, the demand will be very high.
“The idea is that hopefully there will be a national budget, because this is a country issue – not a cash issue – and there is a National Vaccine Commission chaired by the Minister of Health (Daniel Salas) which in the end is the one that decides which is the vaccine that looks more promising, in terms of the clinical data that are being generated and the one that we should start applying in the country when it is available ”.
The official said that this purchasing process can be compared to “a horse race”, where everyone bets on different horses but no one knows which one will win and added that “there is no clarity about the cost.”
For that reason, he added, Costa Rica maintains contact and negotiations with different countries since in some cases the “section” system is assumed with risk capital, that is, if a purchase is managed with a vaccine that is not approved “they won’t return your money, and this type of risk investment is not allowed in our contracting system”.
Macaya announced that in the “at risk” section systems there is talk of a cost of between $ 3 and $ 4 per vaccine. The final cost will vary according to the company and the country that develops it. This is an “interesting price from the point of view of cost for the country,” added the director.
In the event that Costa Rica manages to buy at that price, the country would need a budget of $ 20 million to obtain about 5 million doses. “It would be the bargain of the year,” he said. “No one has written a price, that is, we do not have a proforma for any company,” Macaya clarified, explaining that most pharmaceutical companies are just beginning internal discussions to define prices. “In a couple of months we are going to know a lot more than we know today, in terms of which is the most promising vaccine,” he clarified.