Vaccination of people with irregular immigration status will be extended until October 28

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Translator: Arianna Hernández

Costa Rica’s health authorities will continue to give COVID-19 vaccines to people with irregular immigration status living in the country until Thursday, October 28 in all of the health areas in the nation that have doses available. Those who want to get vaccinated don’t have to show proof of their immigration status or some form of roots in the country.

This means that health areas will accept any type of documentation to administer vaccinations to immigrants over 18 years of age who request it until that date.

Neither the Ministry of Health nor the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) have yet defined whether they will continue to accept this method of documentation after the 28th, the press departments of both institutions told The Voice of Guanacaste.

Right now, we have enough doses [for immigrants]. During these days, any person over 18 years of age, regardless of their nationality, immigration status or proof of roots, can start their vaccination series,” explained CCSS medical manager Mario Ruiz through a statement.

The Ministry of Health clarified that although they do not require any type of national identification, this is not a “vaccine tourism” campaign either. In other words, people who are visiting the country under the category of tourist are not beneficiaries of this arrangement.

Policy Change for Undocumented Immigrants

Vaccination for undocumented immigrants without the need to prove that they have established roots in the country began on October 8 and although the CCSS had scheduled to end it seven days later, the influx of people and the availability of doses led the authorities to extend the date for two more weeks.

For example, between the week of October 8 to 14, 9,629 immigrants without prior registration in the country were vaccinated, according to data from CCSS. Health personnel are also visiting workplaces related to agriculture, construction and tourism.

This coming weekend, health areas will hold open days especially aimed at this group of people. If you are an undocumented immigrant or know someone who is, you can find the closest center to you at this link.

As of September 18, 2021, the Ministry of Health authorized the vaccination of everyone who has an expired DIMEX or other proof of their residence in the country. Later, on October 8, the institution expanded vaccination to all people without the need to demonstrate roots.

But since December 2020, when the country began immunization against COVID-19, the authorities didn’t allow the vaccination of people with irregular immigration status in the country. In fact, this year in July, Health Minister Daniel Salas stated that the country didn’t have enough doses for these population groups.

According to CCSS data, the country currently has at least 250,000 doses of unused AstraZeneca vaccines, many of which have an expiration date in the next three months.