Most of the country's vaccination stations experienced lines over hundreds of meters long with several thousand people
waiting to receive their first dose of Pfizer vaccine. - Social Security photo -

Published on Monday, July 19, 2021

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country-wide mass vaccination campaign that began on Friday, showed contrasting turnouts at some of the vaccination centers.

Most of the country's vaccination stations experienced lines over hundreds of meters long with several thousand people waiting to receive their first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech treatment. In other parts of the country the number of people was much less than expected.

According to Social Security, the goal of applying a programmed quantity of vaccines was quickly achieved in most hospitals, clinics and vaccination centers in the country due to the great response of thousands of people who responded to the call to be vaccinated.

The lines to wait for the treatment, according to reports, at some vaccination sites were more than 7 hours long.

Of those who did not have to wait in long lines to receive the Pfizer treatment were President Carlos Alvarado and First Lady Claudia Dobles. Both went on Friday morning to the vaccination center in Santa Ana, where they are assigned according to their area of ​​residence.

However, in some of the vaccination centers in the southern pacific region of ​​the country, known as the Brunca area, which includes the cantons of Perez Zeledon, Buenos Aires, Coto Brus, Osa, Golfito and Corredores, there was a low turnout of people.

The same goes for some cantons of the Atlantic Coast.

According to Social Security, the two-day rain, from Friday to Saturday, could have affected people's intentions to attend the vaccination clinics in the mornings.

Originally, the weekend campaign plan was to only vaccinate people over the age of 40 who live in the vaccination center area that met requirements.

Authorities changed the campaign, but only for the weekend, to include everyone who lived anywhere in the country that wanted the vaccine over the age of 12 could potentially show up and get inoculated.

Among the first groups of people to receive the vaccine this weekend were more than 400 unhoused people living on the streets of San José. They were attended by the Chepe Se Baña Foundation staff, which has an agreement with the municipality of San José to help people living in extreme poverty.

According to Social Security, they plan to continue applying the vaccine against covid to people experiencing homelessness regardless of where they live in Costa Rica.

Health authorities have the goal of applying the half-million doses donated by the United States in less than two weeks, approximately 33,333 doses per day for the next 15 days. To put it in perspective, the National Stadium of Costa Rica located in La Sabana has the capacity to hold 35,000 people, approximately 95 percent capacity is the goal for the number of people vaccinated per day.

The mass vaccination strategy was not affected after last week's strike by employees of that organization union. Unlike the 35 surgeries that were rescheduled at the Calderon Guardia Hospital in San José Province. Last week, 210 Social Security employees were protesting against a bill that is being analyzed in Congress to regulate the salaries of public employees.

Although there is a strike taking place, authorities said that the mass inoculation campaign will continue this week for all residents over the age of 40, who have not received the first dose.

According to the authorities, the vaccine is only available to nationals and people in the country who are residents. They must show resident ID (DIMEX) or have any document that indicates progress in the residency process and their passport.

The vaccines will be applied at the local public clinic, known as Ebais. Public hospitals will also be carrying out the vaccines, as well as some malls, supermarkets and clinics.

It is advised for people first visit their local Ebais to get information on the vaccination program for that specific area.

Costa Rica has received 3,427,035 vaccines against covid-19, according to the National Emergency Commission.

What have you heard about expat residents receiving the covid-19 vaccine in Costa Rica?
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