Vice-admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo, coordinator of Portugal’s vaccine task force, is renewing his appeal to parents: “bring your children for vaccination. If they are not vaccinated it could create disruptions to the academic year”.
The situation is that 74.4% of the nation’s youngsters from the ages of 12-17 have responded to the call to take-up the offer of vaccination against Covid-19.
But that leaves 25% who haven’t.
And according to the vice-admiral this is too much.
Referring to SARS-CoV-2 as “the assassin”, he stressed that “ignorance associated” to it is what is making the virus multiply.
His mission as task force coordinator “will only be complete when we have finished, and that will happen once we have reached 85% of second doses (administered)”, he told CMTV last night.
“At the moment we are on 83.4% of first doses and between 73% and 74% of second. There is still some way to go”, he said, suggesting nonetheless that between the penultimate and final week in September, Portugal should have reached the point where it has given the final dose to attain national vaccine coverage of 85%.
As of yesterday, Portugal is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world with regard to Covid cover.
Although infections are running much higher than they were this time last year, the number of deaths and hospitalisations resulting from them are well within authorities’ red lines.
Elsewhere, the European Union is advising against travel to destinations that have also had ‘stellar vaccination campaigns’ (Israel and the United States being just two – and both already administering third booster shots). But thanks to the efforts of the vice-admiral, Portugal’s percentage in terms of cover is now well ahead of Israel (on 68%) and the US (60.9%).
According to Our World in Data yesterday, Portugal is in second place in the world for vaccinations against Covid, while Israel is in 9th slot, and the United States in 13th.