The vaccines will allow  the beginning of the massive vaccination campaign tomorrow Thursday with the so-called "first group in risk".
- A.M. Costa Rica illustrative photo -

Published Wednesday, December 23, 2020

First doses of vaccine against covid-19
arrive today, while the government
tightens control measures

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministry of Health announced today the arrival of the first shipment of 9,750 doses of covid-19 vaccines, purchased from Pfizer, expected to be in the country at 9 p.m. This allows  the beginning of the massive vaccination campaign tomorrow, Thursday, with the so-called "first group" in risk.

According to the ministry, shipments of 9,000 to 10,000 doses of the vaccine will continue to arriving in the country weekly, continuing the mass vaccination plan with the goal to cover 80% of the adult population this year.

It is possible that the vaccine will be available to buy in hospitals or private pharmacies in the second half of 2021, authorities said in a press conference today. So far, access to vaccination is currently limited to public health services.

Related to the massive vaccination campaign, the type of population that will receive the first set of vaccines against covid-19 depends on the level of exposure the person has to be infected with the virus. That will establish priority, according to the government.

This way, the elderly who live in nursing homes, the nursing home workers, health workers, and the police force, will be the first to receive the vaccine.

The second established group of people of 58-years-old or older, regardless of whether or not they have any risk factors.

A third group of the population that will receive the vaccine are people between the ages of 18 and 58 years old who present certain risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, chronic kidney disease, obesity and cancer.

A fourth group of the population that will receive the vaccine are the Ministry of Public Education workers, the workers of the private education system, the workers of children's shelters and the workers and prisoners of the penitentiary system.

The last group to be vaccinated will be health science students, technicians who work at Social Security and people between the ages of 40 and 57. Also those who carry out work activities related to contact with people or whose activity is of great importance for the productive sector of the country.

In addition, due to the accelerated increase in infected patients and deaths caused by the virus, the authorities of the National Emergency Commission have ordered more rigorous control measures to try to contain the spread of the virus, which are applied throughout the country.

Among these measures is the so-called ban-on-driving rule. It will apply throughout the country for all types of vehicles from Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, to Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.

On Dec. 31, the ban-on-driving rule applies from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. of the next day. During the day all vehicles are allowed to circulate, except vehicles with the last number of its plate being 7 and 8.

On Jan. 1st, Saturday, Jan. 2, and Sunday, Jan. 3, the ban-on- driving rule applies from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. of the next day. During the day all vehicles are allowed to circulate. But on Friday, during the day are now allowed vehicles with plates ending in 9 and 0.

As of Monday, Jan. 4, and throughout the month, the ban on driving will apply as follow:

On weekdays, the ban-on-driving-rules from Monday through Friday allow driving from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m.  Vehicles are banned based on the last number of the vehicle plate number, as follows:

 • Monday: Vehicles banned with plates ending in 1 or 2.

• Tuesday: Vehicles banned with plates ending in 3 or 4.

• Wednesday: Vehicles banned with plates ending in 5 or 6.

• Thursday: Vehicles banned with plates ending in 7 or 8.

• Friday: Vehicles banned with plates ending in 9 or 0.

On Saturdays, from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. nationwide, vehicles with plates ending in
1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 are banned.

On Sundays, from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. nationwide, vehicles with plates ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 are banned

Readers can verify the car plate number restrictions by visiting
the government website Covid-19/Alerta/Vehicular.

The new restrictions for businesses serving the public, such as restaurants, banks, shopping centers, tourist centers, among others, are listed on
the government's website under Covid-19/Alerta/Establecimientos.

The Ministry of Health officials recommend for managers or business representatives with inquiries about the ban on driving during the weekday, business restrictions and guidelines to directly call them at (506) 2223-0333.

The characteristics of the disease caused by covid-19 require that the health system and the entire population take radical measures to prevent the rapid transmission of the virus, avoid the saturation of health services in the coming weeks and avoid an increase in mortality, authorities said in its statement.

The covid-19 continues to spread quickly throughout the country, according to the latest statistics on the evolution of the virus provided by the ministry on Wednesday, as follow:

 • 1,138 new covid-19 cases are reported to bring the total to 31,661 current active cases.

 • 21,494 foreign-born people have been infected, totaling 161,942 cases since March, approximately 13.2% of the total cases. Of these, authorities confirmed the death of 32 foreign-born patients. But since October, there is no updated information about foreign-born deaths due to covid-19.

 • 634 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 239 patients are in ICU’s in delicate health conditions (ages range from 1 to 90-years-old). And 395 patients are in recovery rooms. Many of the remaining infected patients are quarantined in their homes.

 • 128,216 coronavirus patients have fully recovered, which is a 79% recovery rate of the total cases since March.

 • 464,376 covid-19 tests have been performed in Costa Rica since March, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering of Johns Hopkins University in the United States.

 • 2,065 deaths are listed as covid-19 related, approximately 1.3% death rate of the total cases since March. Of these are 778 women and 1,287 men. The ages range from a 9-year-old to a 101-year-old.

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

According to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering, CSSE, at Johns Hopkins University, the pandemic has killed 1,733,805 people worldwide.

Do you have concerns in regards to getting the vaccine against covid-19?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to


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