Slow vaccine process forces Costa Rica to make changes

A smaller reserve of doses will speed up administrations.

Happy Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week)! Our stories are shorter this week as we fulfill our patriotic duty to travel around Costa Rica. If you see us in Cahuita, say hi.


In response to a lethargic vaccine rollout, Costa Rica will reduce the stockpile meant for second doses in order to expedite the national process.

The Social Security Fund (CCSS, or Caja) will diminish its reserves from three weeks’ worth of doses down to one. In that way, authorities said, more first doses will be available to citizens and residents over the coming weeks.

The smaller stockpile does carry a risk. If Pfizer incurs any delivery delays, Costa Rica may not be able to administer second doses on-schedule.

Then again:

  • There is no indication that Pfizer will have any shipping delays. Instead, they have been steadily increasing the number of doses they deliver.

  • Second doses can safely be administered up to 42 days after the first dose, per the CDC.

  • Other countries, such as the UK, have found success by prioritizing just the first dose of the two-dose schedule.

Costa Rica expects to administer 75,000 doses this week, the government says.

Per The New York Times, Costa Rica is slightly behind the world average of doses administered per 100 people (7.0 here vs. 7.2 worldwide). This is despite the country being among the first to begin vaccinations last December.

You can follow Costa Rica’s vaccine rollout at this link. It includes important information about which populations are elegible for the vaccine at local health clinics across the country.

Costa Rica hopes to vaccinate nearly all eligible adults by the end of 2021. Click here to read our coronavirus vaccine rollout FAQ.

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