Up till today, 123,000 Portuguese have already received their 3rd dose of Covid vaccines as authorities try and face the winter months with the most vulnerable citizens as ‘protected’ as possible.
At the same time vaccinations against the flu are being administered – seeing 279,000 citizens already inoculated.
The current roll-out is focused on people aged 65 and above and has started with the over-80s first.
The plan is to work downwards through the age groups.
Says a source for the DGS health authority: “The rhythm of vaccination is dependent on the delivery of vaccines to national territory, and subject to agreements on the availability of vaccines… From the beginning of November we are expecting the number of vaccines available will be enough to accelerate the rhythm of vaccination”.
In line with what happened in the recent past, citizens are being called to health centres through a text message.
Health authorities’ have decided to vaccinate people with both the Covid boosters and flu vaccines on the same day, though anyone wary of this is entitled to ask to receive the shots separately (in effect, two weeks later).
For now, progress is being reported by the nation’s media with no reference as to how vaccinations may have changed ‘back in the hands of the DGS’.
The military operation run by vice-admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo is over – and according to Expresso columnist Clara Ferreira Alves the habitual chaos of the SNS health service seems to be back.
“With the task force dissolved, we can expect difficult times”, she writes this week, citing the example of a 65-year-old man and his 90-year-old mother turning up for their 3rd dose (as requested), finding the health centre in ‘disorder’ with staff ‘arguing and shouting at one another’ and a three-hour wait to receive their vaccines.
“The vice admiral took off his camouflage fatigues and immediately holes have started to appear in the much applauded Ministry of Health (…) What was vice-admiral Gouveia e Melo’s triumph of military logistics, competence and performance will very soon transform into the usual chaos”, she predicts.
Nonetheless, from tomorrow, the flu vaccine will be available in pharmacies for people with a medical prescription.
Portugal currently boasts 85.7% of the population fully-vaccinated and remains Europe’s leading country for vaccine coverage.
In terms of hospitalisations and deaths, these are still ‘low’ – with numbers in hospital down to under 300.
Incidence and transmission however are increasing slightly, with the overall Rt now over 1, which is not ideal (click here).