San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Public health

Vaccination against influenza starts next month in Costa Rica

The Social Security System, or Caja, will conduct a campaign to vaccinate some 550,000 people against influenza viruses between March and April.

The campaign represents an investment of $3.7 million and is aimed primarily at reducing health complications due to respiratory viruses. Costa Rica usually sees a spike in these diseases during the rainy season that runs from May to November.

The campaign will focus mainly on vaccinating high-risk people, mostly pregnant women, children under 24 months and people from 60 to 64 years old, explained Caja’s Director of Immunization, Vicenta Machado Cruz.

Since 2004, Caja has used the vaccine produced for inhabitants of the northern hemisphere. But Machado said this year the Caja would use the vaccine for the southern hemisphere. A recent investigation by the Costa Rican Nutrition and Health Research Institute indicated that viruses circulating in Costa Rica have greater similarity to those circulating in the southern hemisphere.

Authorities hope the change will protect more Costa Ricans against getting the flu.

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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