Costa Rican officers mentioned on Friday that they’d require Covid-19 vaccinations for folks beneath 18 “to safeguard the very best pursuits” of kids, changing into one of many first international locations to implement such a mandate.
Costa Rica, which has licensed Covid pictures for these 12 and over since Oct. 25, will procure vaccines for kids beneath 12 by subsequent 12 months, the Health Ministry said in an announcement on Friday. The assertion didn’t point out a minimal age for vaccination and the ministry didn’t instantly reply to an emailed request searching for remark.
Fifty-five p.c of Costa Rica’s inhabitants has been totally vaccinated, greater than the worldwide common of 40 p.c, in keeping with a College of Oxford knowledge set. Its vaccination charge additionally exceeds these of a number of of its neighbors in Latin America, the place vaccine access has been unequal. About 73 p.c of Costa Ricans between 12 and 19 had been totally vaccinated as of Tuesday, the federal government’s assertion mentioned, following the beginning of that vaccination effort since Oct. 25.
Since a surge of instances in September, when Costa Rican officers recorded 17,667 instances in a single week, weekly instances have dropped steadily, reaching 3,411 final week, in keeping with government data. Officers reported 291 new hospitalizations final week, a lower of 21 p.c from the week prior.
This isn’t the primary time Costa Rica has required a lot of its residents to get vaccinated. In February, health care workers had been ordered to get pictures. Two months in the past, Costa Rica mandated them for all public sector workers. It has additionally empowered personal firms to require their workers to get vaccinated.
Beginning Jan. 8, the nation would require proof of vaccination to enter locations like lodges, eating places, bars, casinos, museums and gymnasiums, in keeping with President Carlos Alvarado Quesada’s office. At present, these institutions can both function at 50 p.c capability with out a vaccination requirement for patrons, or function at full capability with one.
Costa Rica, whose financial system depends on tourism, has opened its borders to guests no matter vaccination standing, in keeping with the federal government’s official tourism website. Unvaccinated vacationers should buy insurance coverage that covers medical bills and lodging bills for quarantine in case of a Covid an infection.
The well being ministry mentioned Covid vaccines had been becoming a member of a listing of different pictures that had been already necessary for kids in Costa Rica, together with vaccines in opposition to chickenpox, polio and the human papillomavirus.
The nation has acquired about 9 million doses of Covid vaccines, in keeping with the Costa Rican National Emergency Commission. About 998,000 of these got here via donations from the US, Canada, Spain, Austria and the Dominican Republic, the fee mentioned. An extra 259,000 are from Covax, the worldwide vaccine-sharing program backed by the United Nations, it mentioned.
Mother and father or authorized guardians, in addition to the general public training system and kids’s advocacy companies, are answerable for ensuring youngsters get vaccinated, well being officers mentioned. However youngsters over 15 can obtain a Covid-19 shot with out being accompanied by an grownup, they added.