Vaccination task force coordinator Henrique Gouveia e Melo prior to the decision to vaccinate 12-15 year olds...

Covid vac self-scheduling platform opens for 12 year olds from tomorrow

The DGS self-scheduling platform for vaccinations against Covid-19 opens to 12 year olds from tomorrow (Thursday), with the first weekend programmed for this age group being August 21-22.

“We have a plan, a calendar, that was designed so that these adolescents could be vaccinated before the start of the new school year”, vaccine task force coordinator Henrique Gouveia e Melo told reporters, 24-hours after the green light was given at a press conference held by DGS health chief Graça Freitas.

Children receiving their first jabs on August 21-22, are scheduled to receive their second jabs on September 19 (as the vaccination time-limits have all been tightened in a bid to get as many people ‘protected’ as quickly as possible).

Over-16s (all those aged between 16 and 17) are to start their vaccination processes this weekend (August 14-15).

Focus in Portugal is still on attaining ‘herd immunity’ although understanding elsewhere is beginning to accept that this may never be possible.

The Telegraph in UK for example, carries a story today headlined: “Delta variant has wrecked hopes of herd immunity, scientists warn”.

The upshot, says the paper, is that experts are now saying there should be an end to mass testing, on the basis that Britain simply has to start living with Covid.

“Scientists said it was time to accept that there was no way of stopping the virus spreading through the entire population, and monitoring people with mild symptoms was no longer helpful”, says the paper.

One of these, professor Andrew Pollard who led the team who created the Oxford (AstraZeneca) vaccine has told all-party parliamentary group on Covid: “We don’t have anything that will stop transmission, so I think we are in a situation where herd immunity is not a possibility and I suspect the virus will throw up a new variant that is even better at infecting vaccinated individuals.”

Britain has for the time being stopped short of vaccinating healthy children between the ages of 12-15, on the basis that the vaccine advisors “say the benefits of being vaccinated are very small in healthy children. This is because so few children become seriously ill or die from Covid”, writes the BBC.

The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) “also says the benefit to adults from vaccinating children (to limit the spread of Covid) is unclear as so many vulnerable people have been immunised already.

“It also says there is no clear evidence that vaccinating children will prevent youngsters from getting long-Covid” writes health & science correspondent James Gallagher.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com