Costa Rica receives first batch of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX Mechanism
Today, Costa Rica received 43,200 doses of COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX Mechanism
PANAMÁ/SAN JOSÉ, 07 April 2021 – Today, Costa Rica received 43.200 doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Mechanism, a global effort between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi, UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
This is a historic step towards our goal of ensuring equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally, the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. This delivery is the first of a total of 218,400 doses that Costa Rica will receive in the first wave of COVAX shipments.
PAHO's Revolving Fund, the solidarity purchasing mechanism in charge of procuring COVID-19 vaccines for the countries of the Americas under the COVAX Mechanism, shipped the initial 43,200 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, and will coordinate the gradual delivery of the remaining vaccines during 2021. This batch of vaccines were manufactured by SK Bioscience in South Korea.
Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica, highlighted that the arrival of the vaccines, through a multilateral mechanism such as COVAX, allows to further intensify the vaccination campaign that the country is carrying out and. At the same time, President Alvarado recalled this is a fundamental step for economic reactivation.
“With the arrival of this first delivery of vaccines from the COVAX mechanism, Costa Rica reinforces its capacity to continue vaccinating the population. Coincidentally, this first delivery will be on April 7, World Health Day, and what better way to celebrate health than to contribute so that more people can be protected against Covid-19. Vaccines, together with the public health measures already known to all, can contain the spread of Covid-19, protect health services and save lives,” said Maria Dolores Perez, PAHO/WHO Representative in Costa Rica.
COVAX seeks to provide vaccines for at least 20 per cent of the population in each participating country globally during 2021. In this first wave of vaccine allocation, all COVAX participating countries will receive doses to vaccinate between 2.2 per cent to 2.6 per cent of their population. The only exceptions are small island developing states, which because of their size will receive between 16 per cent and 20 per cent of their population, due to the high logistical cost of delivering small quantities of vaccine.
“In this global fight against COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that the vaccine reaches populations living in conditions of greater social and economic vulnerability, leaving no one behind, that is the reason COVAX was designed for. UNICEF supports Costa Rica's actions to strengthen immunization and proceeding to address the extensive effects the pandemic has had on children and the country's population", added Patricia Portela de Souza, UNICEF Costa Rica Representative.
“The only way to beat the pandemic is to make vaccines available and affordable to all. Governments, pharmaceutical companies and multilateral organizations must work together to ensure the right to health for all people equally,” said Allegra Maria del Pilar Baiocchi, UN Resident Coordinator.
PAHO/WHO informed that until COVID-19 vaccination is widespread among the population, hygiene protocols and sanitary measures remain the basis of the pandemic response. For public health authorities, this means continuing screening, diagnostic testing, contact tracing, isolation of infected people, quarantine assistance and quality care. And for individuals, it means continuing to practice physical distancing, hand hygiene, use of masks, space ventilation, maintaining social bubbles and crowd avoidance.
In the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Revolving Fund is the recognized procurement figure recognized by the COVAX mechanism for countries in the region.
In Latin America, the countries that have received vaccines through this mechanism are: Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil and now Costa Rica.
On AstraZeneca’s vaccine safety. Last March, after a careful scientific review of clinical trial reports based on safety data from Europe, the United Kingdom, India and Vigibase (WHO's global database of individual case safety reports), the COVID-19 vaccine subcommittee of the World Health Organization's Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety concluded that the available data do not suggest any overall increase in blood clotting events following administration of COVID-19 vaccines; the rates of coagulation-related events are in line with the expected number of diagnoses of such conditions, which, moreover, occur naturally and are not uncommon.
For this reason, the World Health Organization considers AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to have a good risk-benefit ratio and enormous potential to prevent infections and deaths worldwide. Vaccination remains a critical tool to help prevent further illness and death and control the pandemic.
It is worthy to highlight, as it has done thus far, the subcommittee will continue to review safety data for all COVID-19 vaccines, not just AstraZeneca’s, and will update information as necessary.
To view the full WHO statement on this issue, please click on the following link: Statement of the WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) COVID-19 subcommittee on safety signals related to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
PAHO’s Revolving Fund: https://www.paho.org/en/revolvingfund.
UNICEF works in some of the world's toughest places, to reach the world's most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/lac.