Nurses critical of millions of euros going to pharmacies for autumn vaccinations

‘Money would be better spent investing in health service’

Vaccination against Covid-19 and flu in pharmacies will cost the Portuguese health service around €11.5 million, the Portuguese Nurses’ Union estimated today, considering the transfer of money to private individuals “unacceptable”.

“The government’s recent decision to hand vaccination of the over-60s to pharmacies is unacceptable,” said the Union in a statement, recalling that during the pandemic, the health service, through health centres, managed to ensure that millions of people were vaccinated against Covid-19 and the flu, in multiple doses.

Quoting the President of the National Association of Pharmacies (ANF), Ema Paulino, the nurses union said that pharmacies will receive between 1.7 and 2.3 million flu vaccines, and the same amount of Covid-19 vaccines.

On the basis that the health service is paying pharmacies €2.50 to administer each vaccine, the union has made its calculations, “stressing this is money handed over to the private sector without any justification”, when it could be better spent investing in the country’s (ailing) health service.

“Taking into account previous experience and considering that vaccination is much more than a task, it is an intervention that requires rigour, competence on the part of those who administer it and scientific knowledge to be able to act in the event of any complications, we believe that the government’s option is not the safest for users,” the union continues.

“All that remains to be confirmed is whether the pharmacies will receive the vaccines before the health centres,” the Portuguese Nurses’ Union added.

The vaccination campaign against Covid-19 and the flu will begin on September 29 and will cover people over 60, residents of care homes, health professionals, care home workers and the chronically ill. 

For the first time, pharmacies will administer the Covid-19 vaccines, which will be given at the same time as flu vaccines, to anyone over the age of 60 who elects to have them.

Source: LUSA