By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
1.3 million doses of a vaccine against seasonal influenza will be doled out in the next six weeks to constitute the largest vaccination effort ever undertaken by the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social.
Seasonal influenza is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that can come in mild or a severe form, Caja said. Occasionally, if not properly treated and left to develop, it can also be potentially fatal. Symptoms for influenza include: fever, cough, sore throat, stuffed nose, aches, headaches, fatigue and in some cases vomiting as well as diarrhea.
Data provided by the Caja said that, in 2016, 93 percent of people who died and had influenza were not vaccinated.
The director for the immunization program, Leandra Abarca Gómez, said that the vaccines have already been distributed to all health facilities under control of the Caja. Vaccinations began Monday with the different risk groups determined by the Caja can now request the shots without any mishaps, a statement from the entity said. These include: all pregnant women, all children between six months and five years old and those persons 60 years old and over.
Roberto Arroba Tijerino, the coordinator of immunization with the Ministerio de Salud, urged the population at risk to go to their respective health centers and receive their shots as soon as possible.
This represents an increase in the number of children to be included under the immunization program. Originally, that number only included children under three years old. With this expected increase, Caja has ordered more than 100,000 doses more in comparison to last year. The group invested over $5 million for the purchase of immunization.
Vaccination sessions will be extended until July 14, the Caja said.