70% of Portugal’s population fully vaccinated against Covid-19, health minister reveals

Health Minister Marta Temido announced today that 70% of Portugal’s population is now fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

The milestone was reached yesterday (August 18) and may see the country move into ‘phase two’ of its plan to return to pre-pandemic life “earlier than anticipated”. An extraordinary Council of Ministers meeting may be called soon to discuss this possibility, Marta Temido told Portuguese television channel SIC today.

“We are vaccinating nearly 100,000 people per day,” said the minister, adding that the 70% milestone is an “important result” and that the next goal will be to have 85% of the country’s population fully vaccinated.

However, vaccination numbers will not be the only factor taken into account when deciding whether Portugal is ready to move into ‘phase two’ as other “epidemiological indicators” will also play a role, the minister explained.

“There is a meeting planned next week. Naturally, a change of circumstances of this kind could lead to an extraordinary meeting tomorrow after the national health board (DGS) and Ricardo Jorge Institute have published their reports,” Temido added.

The second stage of Portugal’s plan to ‘return to normal’ will allow restaurants, cafés and pastry shops to host eight people per group inside and 15 outside. Public services will be able to operate without requiring bookings, while cultural events, weddings and baptisms will be allowed to take place at 75% of the venue’s capacity.

As the Resident reported earlier today, mask-wearing will also no longer be required in crowded outdoor spaces – although this measure will remain in place until at least September 12 (click here).

Marta Temido also clarified that Portugal has not yet made a decision about whether a third dose of the Covid-19 will be provided to the population, adding that national authorities are waiting for the recommendations of the European Medicines Agency (EMA).