Portugal aims to vaccinate “50% to 70% of population vaccine by end of spring”

Portugal is aiming to vaccinate 50,000 people a day from the beginning of January.

Says vaccination programme coordinator Francisco Ramos, the ‘best case scenario’ is for 50% to 70% of the population to have received their shots by the end of the spring.

Stress reports, Mr Ramos said this making the point that vaccination against Covid-19 is not obligatory.

He also said that once the roll-out has begun, we will all “have to wait some months to see if the vaccines do what they promise”.

A former secretary of state for health during the PS governments of José Sócrates, Francisco Ramos was talking to RTP about Portugal’s vaccination programme which is still dependent on the arrival, hopefully in early January, of the first batch of the Pfizer vaccines.

He said “the great doubt is the quantity” that will reach Portugal.

Hopes are that the country will be getting 1.5 million doses during the first three months of 2021 – during which time Mr Ramos said he is expecting authorities to reach a decision on the final evaluation and acceptance of the Moderna vaccine (logistically easier to ‘move’ around as it doesn’t require such high levels of refrigeration).

‘If all goes well’ writes Diário de Notícias, Francisco Ramos believes Portugal will be administering both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines during January – though he still has some “uncertainty” over the date for the appreciation of the AstraZeneca vaccine. This may not see a decision before February.

As to the ‘mass roll-out” of the vaccines, this will go ahead in health centres (as previously announced click here). In the case of big cities, “other larger spaces may be defined”, said Mr Ramos.

It was here that the vaccine coordinator mentioned the “best case scenario” outlined by experts – that the end of the spring would see 50% to 70% of the Portuguese population vaccinated.

Prime minister António Costa has already said the country cannot expect any relaxation of other virus-led measures until there is ‘collective immunity’, which in his description would arrive once 60% to 70% of the population had been vaccinated.

At this point one could query Mr Ramos’ concern that it will take months to see if the vaccines actually ‘do what they promise’ set against the government’s zeal to see 60% to 70% of the population vaccinated anyway.

But moving swiftly on, Mr Ramos told RTP that he was very glad of the support he has received from the DGS health authority, INFARMED and the Armed Forces in his preparations so far, saying the support of the latter has given him “enormous tranquility”, bearing in mind shared work in the past when Mr Ramo was at the helm of the Portuguese Institute of Oncology (IPO).

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