Costa Rica’s Social Security System, or Caja, will launch its annual vaccination campaign against seasonal influenza on April 27, hoping to double the number of people who get the vaccine.
Health Ministry officials want all people between 6 months and 2 years old to get a flu shot, along with people over 60 years old, pregnant women and people with respiratory problems or chronic deseases.
Flu cases in Costa Rica mostly occur during the rainy season that runs from May to November. The number of cases usually spikes from July to September, according to Caja records.
Caja’s medical authorities expect to vaccinate a total of 715,000 people: 650,000 adults and 65,000 children, Caja Immunization Program coordinator Vicenta Machado Cruz said.
Previously the vaccine was given only to people over 65 and to those with cancer, diabetes, heart and lung problems, or other chronic diseases. Last year a total of 300,000 Costa Ricans got the flu shot.
Expanding the population to be vaccinated will cost an estimated $3 million. In 2014 Caja invested some $800,000, Caja Executive President María del Rocío Sáenz Madrigal said.
The campaign will continue until May 30 at all Caja hospitals and community clinics (EBAIS).
People who are not within the high-risk population but want to get vaccinated as a preventative measure can buy the vaccine at private pharmacies.