Vaccinations in Panama

The vaccine arrived in Panama in the early hours of Jan 20th. Unfortunately only 12,840 doses were delivered instead of the 40,000 that were ordered, but as soon as they arrived MINSA (health department) started vaccinating front line health care workers, and distributing vaccine to the various provinces so their front line health care workers could be protected.

COMUNICADO No.335 | Ministerio de Salud de la República de Panamá (

The article also mentions a more virulent strain of the virus in the UK and South Africa. Now, any arrivals from those countries are automatically quarantined for five days and then tested. One person infected with this strain was identified and continued in quarantine until he was no longer infectious, which prevented this strain from getting out into the general population. The Gorgas Memorial Institute is also testing random samples to track any mutated forms of the virus that may be in the country.

The first person vaccinated was Violeta Edith Gaona de Cocherán, a nurse for 37 years who is working in an ICU in Panama City. She was chosen for this honor because of her many years of service and dedication, and her current work with ICU COVID patients.

Miss Gaona: una vida dedicada a la enfermería | Ministerio de Salud de la República de Panamá (,

In general virus news, the number of new cases in Panama has been dropping. The number of people hospitalized lags behind because it takes a while before people recover enough to leave the hospital, but there seems to be some progress here as well. We are definitely not out of the woods yet but there are hopeful signs. We continue to get daily communications from the president, the health department and other authorities, and daily reminders to be diligent with infection control measures.

Panama is waiting for news from Pfizer about a delivery date for more vaccines. When the rest of this order is filled, they can complete phase 1 of their plans and look forward to phase 2. (A New Year – a post about the phases) So, progress isn’t as fast as they planned but it will happen. I don’t know if Moderna vaccines or others that are becoming available are also being considered.

The general feel in the world seems to be that we will get through this before the end of the year, and in six months things should be much better as people get immunized and as the virus has less people to infect.

Right now though, it feels like this has been going on FOREVER! We are all so tired of it. So many have suffered in so many ways, and so many have died. Let’s all keep hope in our minds and look forward, and continue to take good care of ourselves and each other.

About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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9 Responses to Vaccinations in Panama

  1. oldsalt1942 says:

    Since the virus has started mutating into other, more virulent strains, I’m not going to get vaccinated. I’m also not too keen on the efficacy of a vaccine that was so rushed through development. On top of that, I’m closing in on my 79th year so, while I’m not looking forward to kicking off, I’m ready. I’ve done all the things I dreamed about doing when I was a kid. Not many people can say that.


    • It’s my understanding that the virus will need quite a few years to mutate enough to make the vaccine ineffective. But of course you do what you think is best for you. I’d miss you if you weren’t writing any more but I understand. We’re all getting to that age, and we’re so fortunate that we’ve been able to do and experience so much.


  2. Excellent has been very beautiful


  3. catfriend99 says:

    Your mailbox is full.

    Good luck with the vaccine. Up here in the suburbs of Seattle I lucked into the Moderna vaccine and had my first dose this past Tuesday with my appointment for the second dose scheduled for February 23. I got the sore and itchy arm, but I gather that means the vaccine is working and my body is producing antibodies, so I’m good with that. It will be a relief to eat inside a restaurant again! Still, Covid isn’t going away.

    I’m delaying my move to Panama until this summer. My left hip is flat out of cartilage and I’ve decided to get it resurfaced now, before moving. Previously I was planning on moving to Panama first, and then flying back for surgery and recovering in Panama, but the pain has become ever present. So, no time like the present for major surgery. I had my right hip resurfaced five years ago, so I know what to expect in terms of recovery.

    Who knows, maybe you’ll be up to see your daughter before I move down. Good thing I haven’t given away all of my winter shoes and clothes yet!


    • Oooh, thanks for the heads up about the mailbox. Sometimes I get these huge spam messages that takes up the whole space in no time 😦
      Great news you got your vaccine!
      Good luck with your hip surgery. I hope you have good results and a quick recovery. I’ll make it up there one of these days so I’ll see you either there or here.


  4. Sherry Felix says:

    I believe in vaccines. It is already proven that the antibodies needed to fight Corvid-19 are created by the vaccines. I can’t wait until I get mine. I have scientific background and know that the science used to create the vaccines is sound.


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