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Toursts will be required to prove vaccine status

Costa Rica

As of December 1st, most retail and places of business open to the public may request the government authorized document proving patrons have received full vaccination protocols for Covid-19.

As of January 8th, 2022, the proof of vaccination is mandatory. The required document must have the government issued QR code.

This is a requirement for citizens, foreign residents and tourists according to the Ministry of Salud. (Health Ministry).

They specify that foreigners entering the country must have this certificate if they wish to attend recreational and social activities that require it.

Tourists and those entering the country are currently issued a Health Pass which is required to be completed prior to entering the country. Foreign residents and tourists may use a link provided on the Health Pass to request the new QR code before or at the time of entering the country, but they can only do so only if they have the complete vaccination schedule. The link for this process is not yet available.

"Complete vaccination schedule" means the application of all the doses indicated for each vaccine by the pharmaceutical company and that the last dose has been applied at least 14 days prior to entering the country.

The authorized COVID-19 vaccines are Pfizer, Astra Zeneca, Moderna, Janssen. WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines also include Sinopharm and Sinovac.

Foreigner persons requesting the QR code must present documentation that verifies their vaccination status and includes the following information:

Full name of the holder
Brand of the vaccine applied.
Date of each dose applied.

This information must be submitted in English or Spanish. This information will appear in the app used to scan the QR code expected to be released this month, allowing business operators to verify vaccine status.

In the case of foreigners who do not comply with the complete immunization schedule of vaccines approved according to the attached resolution, they will not be able to access the establishments that are required to request the vaccination certificate.

They will not be able to access hotels, restaurants, shops and other businesses under the current resolution on the mandatory vaccination. As of December 1st, these business operators can opt to allow non vaccinated patrons entry, provided they post appropriate signage indicating whether the vaccinations are required for entry. As of January 8th, the proof of vaccines become mandatory for entry.

Tourists who do not comply with the complete immunization scheme of guaranteed vaccines, must pay the insurance to enter the country, and maybe allowed to enter private residences or visit relatives in a non restricted residences.

However, as of January 8, 2022, they will not be able to enter establishments that request the vaccination certificate, as specified above.

Tourists who enter the country with a complete vaccination schedule with approved vaccines, do not need to show mandatory Health Insurance.

This policy has raised some serious questions.

How this policy will impact the Tourism sector remains to be seen. What is clear is these restricitons will be an added burden on a sector of the economy that is still desperate to recover from the losses over the past two seasons.

Tourists plan their vacations often months in advance. Will the confusion over the process result in changes to their plans?

Assuming they are spending 10-14 days in the country, will that be enough time to obtain te required documentation from the appropriate Ministry. What happens if it isn't and tourists are refused enty to their hotel? Can they rent a car?

Canadians must show proof of vaccination to get on the plane in the first place, but the additional requirements once they arrive may prove to be a disincentive to travel to Costa Rica.

Of course for those already fully vaccinated the process may be a mere formality, and worthwhile knowing they are not exposed to unvaccinated travelers on the plane and at their destination.

Stats from the CDC showing increasing numbers of fully vaccinated individuals testing positive for Covid-19 are a fact. Severe illness among the fully vaccinated went from 0.01% in January, 2021 to 9% in May 2021, and deaths went from 0% to 15.1%. New statistics covering the period up to the end of October are expected sometime this month.

According to the CDC, "Infections happen only in a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated....if you are fully vaccinated and become infected with the Delta variant, you can still spread the virus to others". Additionally,"people with weakened immune systems.... may not be protected even if fully vaccinated."

We also need to address the issue of what happens when fully vaccinated are required to have a booster vaccination.

People over 65 and those 18+ with underlying medical conditions are eligible for booster shots after 6 months, as per the CDC, following two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.

For the 15 million who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as recently as two months ago and are 18 years of age and older, they are also recommended to receive a booster.

Something to think about if the main objective is reducing the spread of the disease.