A health professional at the Centro de Saúde de Olhão (health centre) during the earlier stages of the vaccination programme in February Photo: VASCO CÉLIO/LUSA

Algarve to receive vaccination boost following pleas from hoteliers

Portugal’s vaccination task force is due to boost vaccination numbers in the Algarve following last week’s pleas from the Portuguese Hotel Association (AHP).

The announcement was made by AHP CEO Cristina Siza Vieira, less than a week after the association said that the Algarve should be given priority in the national vaccination programme as the region is “the main tourist destination in Portugal” and its economy “largely depends on the sector”.

“Our proposal was meant to accelerate the vaccination of the Algarve’s whole population. It should not be restricted to specific groups, because the whole population comes into contact with the tourism sector,” Siza Vieira told Eco newspaper on Tuesday.

As most of the Algarve’s (and the country’s) older citizens have already been or are being vaccinated, this ‘boost’ will be targeted mostly at the region’s younger citizens, she said, adding that this is “exactly what” AHP had called for.

As the CEO told Eco: “This has a triple effect: it reassures the population, those who visit us and sets us apart from our competitors.”

According to the last vaccination bulletin, which included data up to May 9, a total of 155,336 people had already been vaccinated in the Algarve. 26% received the first dose, while 10% had already received both.

Considering that the Algarve has a resident population of around 400,000 people, around 40% of residents have already received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Last week, the association had suggested that the vaccination priority in the Algarve should be for the population in general, not just “tourism professionals”, in a bid to ensure “the quick recovery of the tourism sector” and the survival of companies and jobs.

As AHP pointed out, the Algarve accounts for 33% of all overnight stays by foreign holidaymakers in Portugal and around €1.2 billion of tourism revenue, according to data revealed by the national statistics institute (INE) in 2019.

However, as has been widely reported, the Algarve has suffered an “absolutely disproportional” impact from the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of unemployment levels when compared to other regions of Portugal, revealed a recent report by the country’s Inequality Observatory (click here).

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