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The government also announced that it will join the COVAX agreement, an international mechanism promoted by
the World Health Organization to ensure access to covid-19 vaccines.  - A.M. Costa Rica illustrative photo -


Published Wednesday, September 23, 2020

$12-plus million budgeted for the
purchase of vaccines against covid-19

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government announced the budget of ₡7,200 million colones (approximately $12,052,533) for the purchase of vaccines against covid-19.

The money would be paid in advance to the chosen company that provides the vaccines, to guarantee the first purchase of the treatment.

The capital was included in the third extraordinary budget that the government has presented to Congress, for the analysis process and the consequent rejection or approval.

If the budget is approved by the deputies, the capital would be assigned to the Ministry of Health and then transferred to the National Emergency Commission to purchase the vaccines.

According to the government, the budget for the purchase of vaccines comes from savings in interest from the exchange of expensive debt for a cheaper one.

Thus, the resources to buy vaccines are covered with a reduction in the interest item of long-term securities, because space has been generated for the improvement of debt management, the international loan process and the less interest pressure in the placement of bonds, the government said in its statement.

According to the Ministry of Health, they are in the process of analyzing six possible vaccines against covid-19.

This  investigation is being carried out with the support of Social Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The final decision will be made based on technical and logistical information from the following six laboratories that are developing the vaccine against covid-19: AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sinovac, Sinofarm, Moderna and Sputnik V.

For the moment, all the vaccines are specifically for people over the age of 18.

Once the vaccine is approved, specialists said they plan to first vaccinate people who are within high-risk groups for infection. This group will be established by the National Vaccine Commission. The second set of priority patients vaccinated are the health workers and people who are in the first line of response in the emergency.

The government also announced that it will join the COVAX agreement, an international mechanism promoted by the World Health Organization to ensure access to covid-19 vaccines.

COVAX is also known as the Access to covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. The ACT is a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. COVAX is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization (WHO) among others. It aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of covid-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.

Regarding the advancement of vaccines against covid-19, WHO announced its concern about the development of the covid-19 vaccine made in Russia, so-called Sputnik V.

In August, WHO said it has begun discussions with Russia regarding the covid-19 vaccine that the nation approved without the advanced trials normally required to prove a vaccine works analysis.

In a virtual news conference from the organization’s Copenhagen office, the WHO Europe’s senior emergency official Catherine Smallwood said there have been several direct discussions between Russia’s teams and the WHO’s pre-qualification colleagues, primarily on how the organization is going to assess the potential vaccine.

The WHO Europe's regional director, Hans Kluge, said that while any potential vaccine is good news, all must go through the same rigorous assessments. Smallwood added:"This concern that we have around safety and efficacy is not specifically for the Russia vaccine, it's for all of the vaccines under development."

Smallwood acknowledged that the WHO was taking an "accelerated approach" to try to speed development of coronavirus vaccines, but said, "it's essential we don't cut corners in safety or efficacy."

Kluge cautioned that even once a vaccine or vaccines are approved, that will not be the end of the pandemic. “The end of the pandemic will be the day when everyone of us will take responsibility and have been learning how to behave with the virus. And that depends on us, that day can even be tomorrow."

Developing the cure against covid-19 is the priority throughout the world, in order to control the spread of the virus that has caused thousands of deaths every day.

In the country, the Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday the following on the statistics of the virus:

1,087 new covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 40,223 active cases. The ages of patients infected range from a three-month-old baby to a 100-year-old person.

12,777 foreign-born people have been infected with a total of 66,689 cases since March, approximately 19.1% of the total cases.

• 637 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 260 patients are in ICU’s in delicate health conditions (ages range from 1 to a 91-year-old person). And 377 patients are in recovery rooms. The majority of the rest of the infected patients are quarantined in their homes.

• 25,706 coronavirus patients have fully recovered, which is a 38.3% recovery rate of the total cases since March.

• 125,212 people have been ruled out.

• 206,8012 medical covid-19 tests have been made.

760 deaths of people infected with covid-19, approximately 1.1% death rate of the total cases since March. Of these 290 were women and 470 men. The ages range from 19 to a 100-year-old person.

As of Aug. 31, authorities confirmed the death of 31 foreign-born patients. The youngest and most recent victim was a 19-year-old woman who lived in Guanacaste Province. Before then, on July 30, the ministry announced they would not provide updated information on foreign-born people who died from covid-19 in the country, which at the time authorities reported 30 had died from the virus since March.

Readers can see the updated number of total patients in each district at the National Distance Education University on its
Covid-19 Map.

As of Tuesday night, the pandemic has killed 968,683 patients worldwide, according to recent statistics reported by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

Should the government only consider a vaccine against covid-19 approved by the WHO? 
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