Covid-19 vacs will “very probably” be included in Portugal’s vaccination programme

Vaccination against Covid-19 will “very probably” be included in the national vaccination programme, “as is the case of measles”.

Health minister Marta Temido has paved the way for mass-vaccination of children and teens in an interview with SIC television afternoon chat show host Júlia Pinheiro.

She stressed nothing yet is certain, but it is highly likely that the vaccine against Covid-19 will become part of “a national plan for everyone”, bearing in mind that “the progress of science has given us the vaccine at this time as an opportunity we have to protect ourselves”.

In many ways it was an upbeat interview in that although the minister seemed to think ‘things will get worse before they get better”, she was talking more in the increase in ‘case numbers’ than in increasing pressure on the health system.

On the basis that Portugal (and Europe) have to a large extent followed UK when it comes to decision-making through the pandemic, the fact that Covid-19 and measles have been included together in the same sentence gives a clue that authorities may be moving towards ‘living with the disease’ than trying to eradicate it altogether.

The idea that ‘herd immunity’ can be reached with 70% of the population vaccinated has also ‘moved up a few notches’.

Thinking this week seems to be that 85% of the population will need to be fully-vaccinated to attain group immunity.

Specialist in intensive medicine José Artur Paiva has stressed that measures to reduce transmission (masks, distancing, hand washing) will need to remain in place, but he reinforces the message that we need to “know how to live” with the virus, rather than resort to any kind of new confinements.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com