Expats who are legal residents and obligatory members of the Caja have a chance to cash in on their monthly subscription costs. The Caja said Tuesday that the first shipmen of flu vaccines have arrived in Costa Rica and are being processed. The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social has invested more than $1.5 million for 313,000 doses against influenza A and B, it said.
The Caja expects to have distributed about 80 percent of the vaccine doses by the middle of next week. First to get the shots will be the Central Valley. Toward the end of the week the shots will be distributed to the Caribbean and the Pacific coast, the agency said.
The targeted groups are those over 65 and persons who are at risk because of other diseases they may have, including heart problems, diabetes, HIV, and women in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Health officials said that although the vaccines are effective, the best prevention against flu is hand washing and protection from sneezes and coughs.
Meanwhile, Caja health officials said that respiratory infections have decreased considerably throughout the country.
Some 578 persons have been hospitalized due to such infections, and 15 were in intensive care, said Guiselle Guzmán Saborío, a Caja physician. Hand washing also was cited as a practical approach for these ills, too.