San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Health matters

Annual vaccination against influenza begins early

Costa Rica’s Social Security System, or Caja, on Monday will launch its annual vaccination program against influenza, two months earlier than expected.

The decision to move forward the vaccination campaign responds to weather conditions and increased cases of the disease, Caja’s medical manager, María Villalta Bonilla, said.

So far this year there are two confirmed deaths from influenza and more than 30 cases of influenza type B, authorities reported.

Vicenta Machado, the Caja’s immunization program manager, noted that adults older than 65 are the most vulnerable population.

Caja officials acquired 378,200 doses of the vaccine at a cost of $1.3 million, and it will take up to two weeks to distribute them throughout 1,000 health areas in the country.

Side effects of the drug are minimal and affect less than 1 percent of those immunized. The vaccine can be applied together with other medical treatments and is free in Caja’s medical centers.

The National Vaccination Program will run for three months until February 2013.

Contact L. Arias at

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