There are 148,000 people, between 80 and more than 100 years old, according to statistics from the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS). The first to start the process were those located in long-stay senior homes, in December 2020, while on February 18th they were followed by those who live in their own homes, siblings or relatives.
Xiomara Badilla, head of Epidemiological Surveillance of the CCSS, indicated that as of February 28th, there were 13 cases of older adults with adverse effects from the vaccine. Badilla estimates that vaccination in this age group will end between May and June.
What you should know about vaccination in this age group, answers to the most common questions arising, by CCSS specialists
Many long-lived older adults are surprised that they are not called yet to be vaccinated in their Ebais, while in other communities they go for younger people too. This causes uncertainty among this population.
When is it your turn? Who are vaccinated first?
In Costa Rica we start from the oldest to the youngest. We start with people of 100 years, then between 90 and 100, from 80 to 90. We go for decades, until we reach the youngest.
Why in some Ebais the vaccination process of people aged 80 years and over goes faster, and in others it goes slow?
Some Health Areas advance faster than others depending on the number of older adults they have in their cantons and depending on the people in the first group who were left pending.
Vaccination is different because populations are different. (…) In those where there is a greater number of adults over 80 years of age, the process will take longer than in those where the number of this population is lower.
If a long-lived adult is not called by the Ebais or the Health Area to receive the vaccine, should they call?
We are calling person to person to schedule the vaccination appointment. But if someone has never consulted the CCSS, or is only going to private institutions, or has not joined because they changed their address, we recommend calling to verify if they are in the lists.
Where should they call?
They can call the Health Areas, if they have questions.
If you get COVID-19 before you get the first dose, can you get the vaccine?
No. They have to wait 90 days. We are vaccinating everyone who got COVID until the first days of November and who were discharged. All the people who got sick from March, April, May until more or less October. Those can be vaccinated. Those who are November, December and January, we have to calculate that very well if they were discharged. You have to count those 90 days very well.
If a long-lived adult has flu symptoms, can he receive the vaccine against the novel Coronavirus?
Yes of course. The only ones we don’t vaccinate are those with fever; because with the vaccine the temperature is going to rise 2 or 3 degrees more. If a patient has a temperature of 39 ° C, we do not vaccinate them, but if it is a common flu, due to a change in the season or because there has been a lot of wind, that is not a contraindication. Only in the cases that are known as “broken bones” these cases are not vaccinated. If a person has a fever, that condition is magnified.
What can happen to a person who had COVID-19 and is vaccinated before the 90 days that they had to wait?
It can give them a very negative reaction. As the person has not fully recovered from the disease, the immune system is not yet capable of generating the antibodies that are used to fight the virus in the event of a probable reinfection. The person must be completely recovered and go through that period through the same components of the vaccine, as it is not convenient to be given it on dates close to when they had the disease.
Who cannot be vaccinated?
People known to be allergic to any vaccine, food or who have had severe allergies that require treatment and be cared for in hospital, these patients are contraindicated vaccination. They are the smallest cases. Those who have severe allergies are evaluated with specialists for specific cases and then they are vaccinated in the clinics to give them attention, if necessary.
The specialists pointed out that anticoagulated people also take medications to prevent blood clots, in those cases they are vaccinated in clinics to apply some intramuscular injection technique to prevent bleeding.
What side effects can occur in long-lived adults?
Pain in the vaccine injection site
Mild headache at night
It is difficult for them to sleep on the arm in which they received the vaccine, as they have mild swelling
In April, the influenza vaccination process will begin. Can the long-lived adult or anyone receive both vaccines (COVID-19 and influeza) at the same time?
It would be better if they wait 15 days between one vaccine and another. What the package leaflet of the vaccine (Pfizer) says is that immunity (95% after receiving the second dose) is guaranteed 15 days after receipt.
If we are generating antibodies for COVID and we put it to generate antibodies for influenza, to a certain extent the person can become a little weak. We want to respect the periods to avoid side effects and especially for a matter of immune defenses.