San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
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Public hospitals from Costa Rica’s Social Security System, or Caja, on Monday will launch a national vaccination campaign against the influenza virus.

The official start date for the vaccination program is Tuesday, but Caja hospitals already have the doses and are authorized to initiate vaccinations a day early.

The national vaccination campaign coincides with the transition from rainy to dry season, which in Costa Rica runs November to April. The dry season, or verano, usually sees an increase in cases of respiratory viruses, coupled with stronger, colder winds and lower nighttime temperatures.

The Health Ministry’s director of health surveillance, María Ethel Trejos, said the campaign’s main goal is to reach some 95 percent of the most vulnerable population, such as the elderly, children, pregnant women and those vulnerable to complications from the flu.

Trejos urged people to get vaccinated before the arrival of chillier temperatures, generally in the last few weeks of the year.

The Caja earlier this year acquired 420,000 doses of influenza vaccine for three strains: two from type A and one from type B.

The vaccine already is available at private pharmacies across the country.

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