CRC Daily: Who gets the vaccine first?

That answer and more in Free Talk Friday.

Happy Friday from The Costa Rica Daily! Today is “Free Talk Friday,” our end-of-week mailbag. Send us your questions throughout the week, and we’ll pick some to answer next Friday. 

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Let’s get right to this week’s questions:

Who gets the coronavirus vaccine first?

Costa Rica hopes to immunize 80% of its adult population by the end of 2021. Because vaccines are in high demand and relatively low supply worldwide, some populations will have priority. In order, they are:

  • Staff and residents at retirement homes.

  • Health personnel and some first responders.

  • Adults ages 58 and up.

  • People with COVID-19 risk factors (hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory illness, kidney disease, obesity, among others).

  • Teachers and other educational staff.

  • Imprisoned people and judicial authorities.

  • Workers for the 911 service.

  • Health science students and clinical technicians.

  • People ages 40-57 who cannot work remotely and whose work involves contact with others.

The vaccine campaign will be run by the Health Ministry and the Costa Rica’s Social Security system (Caja). All at-risk people will receive the vaccine for free, even if they’re not insured.

We reached out to two private hospitals, and both said they don’t yet know if they’ll receive doses or be authorized to sell the vaccine on-demand.

The national vaccination campaign is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2021. Costa Rica has already approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, but it has not announced a date for the first shipment to arrive.

Costa Rica has among the highest vaccination rates in the region, and population health is a point of national pride. When the country experienced a small measles outbreak in 2019, its origins were traced to a U.S. visitor, and the outbreak was contained within a single family — also U.S. citizens.

Can foreigners open a Costa Rican bank account?

Foreigners with Costa Rica residency can open a bank account here. If you’re not a citizen and don’t have residency, things get a bit more complicated.

We’ll let the experts at Outlier Legal explain:

For tourists, it’s still possible to open a bank account, but the account will be restricted to transactions of no more than $1,000 USD per month. In addition, it is not possible to complete wire transfers between banks for people with this type of restricted account.

For people with a corporation, the situation can be quite different. While corporate accounts are not restricted, the challenge is to produce the plethora of documents required to open an account. In addition to the documents required for individuals, it is also required to produce:

  • Certificate of Good Standing; Certificate of Stock Ownership; Articles of incorporation; Utility bill for the address of the company; Certificate of income, and if the business is new, then an income projection; If one of the shareholders is a US citizen, then it is required to complete the FATCA form; Some banks may require additional information or documents.

Many international credit cards, including some issued by U.S. companies, have no foreign transaction fees. As a result, you can (relatively) easily maintain a bank account in your country of citizenship and still make purchases or withdrawals in Costa Rica.

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A quick word: We’re spending this weekend in Corcovado National Park. Depending on cell coverage, we may not publish a CRC Daily on Monday. Have a great weekend!