The Portuguese government is launching a vaccine simulator for the over-50s to learn whether they are included in the current first phase of roll-out.
The tool, available on the covid19.min-saude.pt/ site, will be available by the end of this week, health minister Marta Temido has told reporters.
All that people will need to access it is introduce their SNS health number, date of birth and name.
Also starting this week is the ‘next phase’ of phase one: the vaccination of 957,000 people, including all those over the age of 80 who haven’t yet had their jabs, plus citizens over the age of 50 with at least one ‘associated comorbidity’ (cardiac insufficiency, coronary disease, renal insufficiency and COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
The phase will be run through just under 100 health centres up and down the country which will be stocked with the roughly 453,000 doses of vaccine that should have arrived in this country by then.
Said Ms Temido, “the process will be expanded as the weeks go by depending on the capacity of the vaccines (ie how many Portugal actually receives). It was here she stressed “the context of scarcity” on a European level which means that by the end of March, Portugal will only have received just under 2 million doses of vaccines, when initial expectations had been for more.
This week, the country is due to receive almost 88,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, she said, as well as 23,000 doses of the Moderna two-shot vaccine.
The first batch of 43,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived (ahead of time) yesterday (Sunday), and this will be given ‘preferably’ to citizens under the age of 65 “as is the practice in other countries”, she said.
Ms Temido added that the quality of the AstraZeneca vaccine wasn’t an issue, nor was its ‘safety’ as a vaccine. It is simply that there isn’t the data to show it is effective in people over the age of 65 (click here).
Meantime, testing is set to continue ‘apace’: “We cannot let the number of tests fall”, said the minister. “In fact we have to intensify our efforts in terms of offering tests”.
This was a press conference that precedes the next meeting with medical experts and the government, scheduled for tomorrow at Infarmed headquarters in Lisbon.