Day 4: College of Nursing Student Antonia Corma Discusses Vaccinations

I decided to go on this trip because I felt like this would be a great opportunity for me in my future nursing career.
At first, I was nervous because I was unsure of what exactly I wanted to research or how to go about doing it, but that nervousness has not held me back on this trip. Every day I wake up with excitement to experience and try new things and I can’t wait to learn more. Whether it is trying different food or getting out of my comfort zone to ask questions, this trip has been extremely beneficial and it isn’t over yet!
Today we began our day with a tour of a local clinic, Area de Salud Tilaran, and observed the care that the ATAPs provide to the people of Costa Rica. One of the aspects of care that I am interested in is vaccination. In Costa Rica, vaccines are mandatory and, more importantly, free. There are also campaigns that are done if an outbreak of a certain disease were to occur which provides the people of Costa Rica with the vaccines for free. If they have the vaccine previously, they will receive it again along with any other vaccinations they may not have or are due for.
Once the ATAPs go to the house, they do a number of things, but in relation to vaccines, the Costa Rican’s need to provide them with their vaccination card. Children are provided with books that document all of their information, including their vaccine record. Costa Rican’s can refuse the vaccines, but if that is done the ATAP reports it to someone with higher authority. Once that is done the police get involved along with the Ministry of Health to provide them with the vaccinations since it is mandatory for this country. The only two exceptions as to why someone is not being vaccinated is if they are immunocompromised or for religious reasons.
In the United States, there have been many cases of measles outbreaks due to people not being vaccinated. I believe that vaccinations are so important because those few who can’t receive the vaccinations benefit from the herd immunity. Without the herd immunity, those people along with everyone else are put at a much higher risk of getting the disease. I want to be a pediatric nurse. Therefore, I am extremely interested in how children are cared for in Costa Rica. Vaccinations are such a controversial issue in the United States today, while in Costa Rica it’s the norm.

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