Costa Rica mandates vaccines for children

Costa Rica mandates vaccines for children
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Costa Rica has moved to require coronavirus vaccinations for everyone under the age of 18, marking one of the world's largest mandates for children.

Costa Rica's Health Ministry announced that vaccinations for children will be required along with other mandatory shots for illnesses such as chickenpox and polio, according to The Washington Post.

Parents and guardians will reportedly be asked to see that minors receive vaccinations in a “timely manner.”

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The Post noted that Costa Rica is the first nation in the world to require immunizations against the coronavirus for children. 

Arachu Castro, a Tulane University professor who specializes in public health in Latin America, told the newspaper that the move on Friday “helps normalize the vaccine" and indicates that “COVID may become endemic.” 

Castro added that Costa Rica has welcomed the vaccine mandates and trusted the country's public health system.

“Access to public health care in Costa Rica is a matter of national pride,” she said. “It’s seen in a positive nature.”

The country currently requires government employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine and supports vaccine mandates at businesses, according to the Post.

Just last month, Costa Rica began allowing children 12 years old or older to get the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. Since then, nearly three-quarters of people ages 12 to 19 have reportedly received at least one dose of the vaccine.