Mid-September 100% of the over-80s had been vaccinated. But by October, 65% in hospital were 'unvaccinated'...

“Only 35% of over-80s in hospital with Covid in October were vaccinated” – official data

The drive to encourage citizens to take-up the offer of Covid booster shots continues apace in Portugal, with new statistics revealed suggesting ‘two-thirds of the over 80s hospitalised with Covid-19 in October had not been vaccinated” – while 67% died in November unvaccinated.

The figures were reported by TV commentator Luís Marques Mendes on his regular Sunday evening slot on SIC.

The source was given as State health authority the DGS, and public health institute INSA. 

But the message contradicted figures given by the same sources mid-September.

On September 14, SIC reported that “for the first time” the official report on vaccination “shows that 100% of citizens in the age groups 65-79 and over 80 are totally vaccinated, which represents a total of more than 2.3 million people”.

Alternatively, these new figures suggesting so many unvaccinated people are ending up in hospital, and dying, could be a reference to their not having taken up a 3rd booster dose.

As the European Commission has already decided, citizens who don’t take up booster shots will be considered ‘unvaccinated’, eventually seeing their Covid Digital Certificates, attesting to two-shots of vaccine, ‘lapse’ and become void.

Thus Portugal’s ‘unvaccinated over-80s’ may well be in a similar boat: people who originally took up the two-shot vaccines, but have been slow (or tragically caught out) in coming forwards for the 3rd.

Mr Marques Mendes’ commentary yesterday also highlighted the number of citizens ‘over the age of 50’ in hospital with Covid-19 who were “not vaccinated”.

This was given as one in six.

Yet, referring again to DGS figures of mid-September, the country was informed then that “in the age group of 50-64, 99% are vaccinated with one dose, and 97% are fully-vaccinated”.

In other words, the one in six people in hospital in October were either one in six of the 1% that may never have taken up the offer of the vaccines, or people who have not yet taken up the offer of a 3rd dose (which is only now beginning to be rolled out in the over-55s).

Alternatively, the official data could either be incorrect now – or have been incorrect in the middle of September…

Whatever the case, the bottom line being impressed day-by-day is that it is crucial that citizens take up their booster doses.

“Two doses on their own do not offer sufficient protection against Omicron” say official sources throughout Europe – again leaving some people puzzled on the basis that many of the hundreds of thousands contracting Omicron don’t even know they have it.

To this end, the mantra is ‘people must get tested’ – which has seen long lines of citizens complying in the pouring rain in towns and cities all over the country.

In the two days before Christmas no less than 620,000 tests were performed at testing centres – and these don’t include the hundreds of thousands of ‘self-tests’ people will have taken at home before setting out for family occasions/ festive get-togethers.

Portugal in the meantime remains in a two-week period of ‘containment’ where people are being advised as much as possible to reduce social contacts ‘outside the family group’ in order to see measures hopefully lifted in time for a return to school for children on Monday January 13, and a return to work for the many thousands back teleworking from home.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com