This Monday Restarted the Vaccination Campaign Against COVID-19 in Costa Rica

    It is expected to be carried out during all 2021

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    This Monday restarted the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in a more comprehensive way, with the immunization of 750 people. These are 350 older adults living in long-stay centers and 400 health workers from the Carmen-Montes de Oca health area.

    They will receive their first dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine and 21 days later it will be given to them the second dose, in order to achieve the generation of antibodies against the Sars-COV-2 virus.

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    These groups make up the segments contemplated in the first priority group to be vaccinated, of the 5 determined by the Ministry of Health. Gonzalo Zúñiga Mendoza, director of the Carmen-Montes de Oca health area, explained that the teams will continue with the vaccination this week.

    On the previous December 24th, the vaccination process against COVID-19 began, and on that first day 55 people were immunized. 35 people were vaccinated from the Fundación Pro Personas Adultas Elderly (Propam) home, including older adults and staff working in said home.

    Meanwhile, in the Specialized Center for the Care of Patients with covid-19 (Ceaco) of the Fund, 20 officials including nurses, doctors, patient assistants, respiratory therapy, laboratory and cleaning personnel received the vaccine.

    Planned and scheduled

    Zúñiga mentioned that there is careful planning and programming, for which the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) determined the respective logistics. “This implies all logistics that includes defining the amount of vaccines that will be applied during the week to request and withdraw them, for later thawing and application as scheduled,” said Zúñiga.
    Once the vaccination process of this first segment is completed, they will continue with Red Cross personnel. Also with police officers and other institutions that are part of the assignment area and that correspond to the first response risk group.

    Wait for them to call you

    Zúñiga asked the population to wait for the Health services to call them. “It is important that people do not crowd the health services or the centrals asking about the vaccine,” he said. He pointed out that “what corresponds is to wait for us to make the statement to tell them in which risk group they are to be cared for and when they should go to be vaccinated as the place indicated.”

    The previous Wednesday 23rd, at 9:11 pm, the DHL Boeing 757 landed at Base 2 at Juan Santamaría International Airport with 9,750 doses of the vaccine against COVID-19, purchased from the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech. With that amount, 4,875 people can be vaccinated, from the first priority group, since each person requires two applications to achieve the recommended immunity. It is estimated that another 11,700 inoculations will arrive this week, with which 5,850 more people will be vaccinated.

    New vaccine orders are projected to arrive each week
    In total, the country purchased 3 million doses of Pfizer, which will reach 1.5 million people. There are 6 million vaccines that Costa Rica will buy in total, which will be completed with one million injectables to be purchased from AstraZeneca and two million through the Covax mechanism of the World Health Organization (WHO). It seeks to immunize 3 million inhabitants. Minors, pregnant women and lactating women are not included.

    In the first months, the vaccination day will focus on the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM). The extension of the vaccination campaign will be extended once the National Commission for Risk Prevention and Emergency Attention (CNE) delivers to the CCSS the 14 ultra-freezers it bought and which will arrive in the country in February.

    These teams have the capacity to store a total of 750,000 Pfizer vaccines, which must be kept at freezing temperatures. The CCSS has ultra-low temperature freezers that were loaned to them by the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and the Instituto Tecnológico de Cartago (TEC).

    Educators raise their voices

    Not everyone agrees with the vaccination plan proposed by the CCSS. The president of the Costa Rican Education Workers Union (SEC) Gilbert Díaz, raised his voice and demanded that the Ministry of Health include the National Magisterium in the first group to be vaccinated.

    This is because the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) has scheduled the school start for February 8th, 2021. In this regard, Díaz pointed out that educators and teachers will have contact with students, since it is intended to implement a mixed system: in-person and virtual.
    “It is important that we are in the early stages (of vaccination), because we work with thousands of young people, and of course, this implies the breaking of social bubbles,” said Díaz in a letter sent to the Ministry of Health.

    In this sense, he added that “it is extremely dangerous for the occupational health of the entire National Teaching Department, hence the urgent need to include ourselves in the first ranks of vaccination.”

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