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    Vaccination Against COVID-19 Must Include Traceability to Avoid Illegal Trade and Counterfeiting

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    Implementing a traceability system for COVID-19 vaccines in Costa Rica would not only guarantee the safety of doses, but would also protect the country from counterfeiting, something that is already happening in the United States and Europe.

    This is suggested by the Deloitte report “Ensuring Trust in the Global COVID-19 Supply Chain” which indicates that adopting GS1 standards adds an element of trust at all levels of the supply chain, a trust that ultimately instance extends to the patients themselves. 

    These standards allow pharmaceutical manufacturers, distribution companies, and healthcare providers to follow protocols and safety measures to ensure public confidence, both in the vaccine itself, and in the ability to implement doses of safe way. For example, it uses barcodes that carry GS1 standards that uniquely and securely identify medical products from laboratories and clinical trials to the point of administration. This helps improve supply chain coordination, reducing the risk of vaccine diversion, expiration date, and the proliferation of fake vaccines.

    “We have insisted on multiple occasions on the need to implement a national traceability system, which guarantees not only the visibility of the different supply chains, but also provides intelligence and efficiency on the issue of illicit trade and counterfeiting of products.  These problems will be present in the COVID-19 vaccines, this is already an international reality and that we must urgently prevent”, warns Guillermo Varela, executive director of the GS Uno Costa Rica Association. In fact, the issue of counterfeiting is something that the Fund is already warning about and that is why they have made it clear to the population that only the institution is applying the vaccine against COVID-19 and that it is free.

    “There could be unscrupulous people who offer vaccines without being authorized to do so, or who offer them adulterated, or who mediates a charge for their application, remembering that at this time only the Fund applies the vaccines, free of charge, and that It is not currently possible to commercialize it privately ”, clarifies Mario Ruiz, the CCSS medical manager.

    At the moment, each vaccine that arrives from the airport goes to the CCSS warehouse, where officials from the Logistics Management do a bottle-by-bottle review and a quality control to ensure that the vaccine complies with the appropriate measures and with the cold chain. It is then distributed to different parts of the country.

    Strict CCSS controls

    Then, when arriving at the health centers, a vaccine control mechanism is used through lists and each vaccine placed is registered in the Unique Digital Health Record (EDUS) through the Integrated Vaccine System (Siva).

    In addition, an internal audit supervises the entire vaccination process and they have already made visits to hospitals, health areas and communities where vaccination is active. For example, the hospitals: Calderón Guardia, Guápiles, Maximiliano Peralta, San Carlos, Los Chiles and the Goicoechea 1 and 2 and Cubujuquí de Heredia health areas, among others.

    At the moment, the Fund manages controls with which it seeks to guarantee the safety of the vaccination process against COVID-19. Signed lists that endorse the people to be vaccinated by each of the institutions Only those people on the list receive the vaccine and it is verified with the presentation of their identity card, residence or worker card. Any vaccine placed is registered in the EDUS through Siva.

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