Among the most important items are 14 ultra-low temperature freezers to store the vaccines
scheduled to arrive before March 2021.   - A.M. Costa Rica illustrative photo -

Published Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Purchase of supplies ahead of massive
vaccination campaign against
covid-19 begins

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The National Emergency Commission announced that it has already begun to buy the necessary supplies for an expected vaccination campaign against covid-19 in 2021.

The commission said that purchases so far include large quantities of cotton, needles, syringes, bags, disposable masks, and ultra-low temperature freezers to store vaccines safely.

Authorities also began the designing and construction of an exclusive area to store the supplies in Social Security supply warehouses.

Among the most important items are 14 ultra-low temperature freezers to store the vaccines scheduled to arrive before March 2021. Of those, 13 freezers can hold 550 liters and another with a capacity of 750 liters to store the vaccine a longer period of time.

The purchases are financed with emergency funds, in accordance with the Presidential Decree of National Health Emergency due to the pandemic.

Last week, the government signed an agreement with the British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to buy one million doses of its vaccine, AZD1222, which is being developed together with the University of Oxford in England.

According to the government, each dose will be priced at $4, so the estimated price of this purchase is at least $4 million, without including additional distribution costs. Vaccine purchases would be made with funds from the National Emergency Fund that is being used to face the crisis caused by the pandemic.

The vaccine would be administered in two sessions, meaning that one million doses would cover half a million people. It is estimated that the vaccine will be made available in the first quarter of 2021, as long as the ongoing clinical trials are successful and it is approved by international regulatory organizations.

In October, authorities at the Ministry of Health announced an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech for the purchase of 3 million doses of the BNT162b2 vaccine.

The cost of the purchases has not been disclosed due to a commercial confidentiality agreement required by the companies, the government said.

The National Emergency Fund is paying for the vaccines and expect to receive the treatment gradually in the first quarter of 2021.

The government joined the COVAX-Facility program coordinated by the World Health Organization. In the case of COVAX agreement, the first advance payment of $6,316,560, or 30% of the cost, was scheduled to be made in October, the government said in its statement.

The payment is based on the $10.55 price tag set by COVAX. The price includes factory costs, access, financing, risk mitigation and operating costs.

Time is running for scientists in the race to find a cure for covid-19, which continues causing mass global deaths. In Costa Rica, the Health Ministry announced on Tuesday the most up-to-date statistics on the evolution of the virus in the country:

895 new covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 49,555 active cases.

19,295 foreign-born people have been infected with a total of 133,190 cases since March, approximately 14.4% 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.

• 501 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 208 patients are in ICU’s in delicate health conditions (ages range from a 12-year-old to a 89-year-old). And 293 patients are in recovery rooms. Many of the remaining infected patients are quarantined in their homes.

• 81,973 coronavirus patients have fully recovered, which is a 61.5% recovery rate of the total cases since March.

• 375,720 medical covid-19 tests have been made. This according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering of Johns Hopkins University.

1,662 deaths of people infected with covid-19, approximately 1.2% death rate of the total cases since March. Of these 632 women and 1,030 men. The ages range from a 9-year-old to a 101-year-old person.

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 1,394,090 people worldwide.

Should the government’s goal be to vaccinate the entire population in its campaign against covid-19?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to


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