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The C.R. Public Health-Care System for babies

If your baby is born in a public hospital in Costa Rica, it will be given vaccinations, period.  And the public health system will follow that baby's growth carefully, giving abundant vaccinations at regular intervals.  It's all free, even the birth (usually).  They will even drive to your house to give the baby vaccinations if you miss your appointment.  However, once you are in the public system you cannot opt out.  There is no religious exemption, or any other exemption,  because it is viewed as the universal right of children to get health care, as defined by the caja.  The social workers will come in increasing numbers, even with the police, in order to vaccinate a child they believe is being neglected by lack of vaccinations.

If your baby is born at home, and then you bring it to a local health clinic, you're in the same path.  The local clinic, by the way, cannot and will not help in any way with registering your baby's birth.  That is completely separate.  The clinic only functions as the medical care facility and center for social-worker outreach.

If your baby is born in a private hospital, it depends on your arrangements.  Plan ahead.  You obviously pay for the birth, but at a cost far less than in the U.S.

If your baby is born at home, and you get a doctor to issue the certificates for the birth, then you may be outside the radar of the caja/local health care workers.  It's a bit vague what the certificates from the doctor must say, but basically verifies the date and time of the birth.  You'll need many copies of this letter to apply for the birth certificate and also to apply for citizenships of your home country.   If you want to be out of the radar, never go to the local health clinic.  Just bring your certificates directly to the public registry in the appropriate city.

One final note: it will take around three months to get the baby's birth certificate, from the time it is filed in the local registro.  Plan ahead.  Until you get that birth certificate, you can't get a passport from any country and cannot leave the country.

Enjoy your babies in Costa Rica.  Plan carefully; if you know what you want, it's probably possible with proper planning.

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