Experts recommend to the National Vaccination Commission adjustments in the Costa Rican immunization program against COVID-19 to achieve greater effectiveness. Luis Rosero, the demographer, and Ronald Evans, epidemiologist and head of research at the School of Medicine of the Universidad Hispanoamericana, suggest prioritizing the most affected age groups to reduce mortality and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 by up to 47%.
Specifically, what they propose is to stratify the second group to be vaccinated (the one over 58 years old regardless of whether or not they have a risk factor), so that it starts with the 80-year-old population, according to the observed mortality.
“If 90% of the 95 thousand people in this group were vaccinated during the first month, mortality from this cause would be reduced by 24%. If in the second month, the vaccine was applied to 90% of the 190 thousand in ages between 70 and 79 years, we would have, after the first two months, a very significant reduction of 47% in mortality from COVID-19”, justified the demographer and Evans replied.
But, in the case of following the official scheme, of vaccinating the entire population over 58 years of age, the impact on reducing mortality would be 24%. If there is any modification, it will be announced “proactively”, reported the Press of the Ministry of Health.
Change of priority
The experts’ suggestion to give priority to the age groups that have shown the greatest affectation is only one of the assessments made by the National Vaccination Commission. Other requests for adjustments to the COVID-19 vaccine program come from professional groups and associations who ask to be included among the priority sectors due to the risk to which they are subjected.
For example, the National Council of People with Disabilities (Conapdis), proposed that group 1 include some 755 people with disabilities who reside in the 52 long-stay homes and the 388 officials who attend them permanently. Also, group 2 cares for people with disabilities who require generalized support and those who care for them, and group 3 direct care personnel from Conapdis.
Likewise, local governments request that waste collectors, those in charge of cleaning the public roads, officials of the Child Care and Development Centers, and environmental and risk managers be incorporated into group 1.
The educators also requested to be included in group 1 so that when starting in-person schooling they were immunized and not in group 4, where they were established. However, this sector has already been announced that they will have to wait their turn and only people over 58 will be ahead in group 2.
“Vaccines will come little by little: we are prioritizing those who are at risk of dying, becoming infected and infecting other risk groups,” justified Roberto Arroba, technical secretary of the National Commission of Vaccination and Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health.