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Costa Rica announces mandatory proof of vaccine for Covid-19

Costa Rica

In a Press Release this week from the Casa Presidencial, a proof of vaccine or vaccine document issued by  the Ministerio de Salud will be required for most activities as of December 1st 2021.

The announcement comes just weeks before the start of the new tourist season. The proof of vaccination will not be required for supermarkets or pharmacies. It is unclear whether centers such as Walmart and Pricesmart will be included in the proof of vaccine mandate. It is expected it will apply to hardware and electronics stores unless they are deemed to be essential services.

The government has also announced they are pursuing a policy that requires all public service employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19, however they have avoided making this mandatory for private enterprises. This annoucement appears to imply that employees of private businesses will also be required to show proof of vaccine documentation by December 1st.

The release translates as follows:

Taking the best international practices, an inter-institutional working group made up of the Ministry of Health, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), the National Emergency Commission (CNE), the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) and coordinated by the Ministry of Science, Innovation, Technology and Telecommunications (MICITT), will implement new security standards in the QR code of the vaccination certificate.

Under the new parameters that are adapted to those applied by the European Union, the updated QR code can only be validated through the free app that will be made available to the public for this purpose, starting in November. It is important to indicate that it will not be required to have the internet to be able to verify the code. In addition, the QR code can be printed or in the same way arranged in digital format, which makes the measure inclusive and available to all people. This will strengthen and expedite the verification of the COVID-19 vaccination status by digital or printed means.

As of November 8, to update the certificate to the new QR, people who have already received it must only enter the link sent to their email (https://usuarios.ministeriodesalud.go.cr/ ), and place the assigned pin, in this way your vaccination certificate will be updated with the new security standards. Those who have forgotten or misplaced their pin can retrieve it on the same website.

As of Tuesday, October 12, 1,110,000 vaccination certificates have been sent, with an average daily issuance of 30,000 proactive certificates (people who have the email registered in EDUS), and about 1,200 daily shipments to interested parties who request it. .

If you completed your two-dose vaccination schedule more than 8 days ago and have not received your COVID-19 vaccination certificate in your email (after checking your spam folder), you can request it at the following link:

Latest population estimates according to Worldometers.info show Costa Rica with a population of over 5.1 million. Assuming at least half of those are over the age of 12 and will be required to show proof of vaccination, that leaves a minimum of 1.4 million awaiting vaccination certificates.

"The issuance of the certificate takes an average of 10 business days, however, those requests for certification of vaccines placed outside the country may take a little longer, taking into account the review of the documentation submitted.

The authorities reiterate to the population the importance of making the request for the certificate with due anticipation to be able to have said document in the month of December.

It is not kown how these requirements will be imposed on tourists or foreigners returning to their winter vacation homes. We expect more information to come over the next few weeks.

The scope of this rollout is massive and will impact business on a scale unprecidented in this country. The fact that announcement is made just 7 weeks prior to it's implementation is odd considering the bureaucracy is already overwhelmed.