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Costa Rican children aged five and up must get COVID-19 vaccinations, according to a new health ministry mandate, making the Central American country one of the first to adopt such a requirement for kids.
The move would add COVID-19 to a list of other infectious diseases in which vaccines for children have for years been required, including for polio and smallpox.
“Our basic vaccination scheme has made it possible to subdue many of the viruses that cause suffering and health consequences and even fatalities in the underage population,” Health Minister Daniel Salas said in a statement issued on Friday, announcing the addition of COVID-19 to the scheme.
Coronavirus infection rates in Costa Rica have been trending down recently, with confirmed COVID-19 deaths totaling more than 7,000, according to official data, out of a population of around 5.1 million.
So far, nearly three-quarters of the country’s 12 to 19-year-olds have received at least one vaccine dose, while about 54% of all Costa Ricans have been fully vaccinated.