Vaccination task force coordinator Henrique Gouveia e Melo prior to the decision to vaccinate 12-15 year olds...

Portugal “just days away” from becoming world’s most Covid-vaccinated country

Portugal is just days away from becoming the world’s most vaccinated country against Covid-19.

Right now, more than 78% of the country is fully-vaccinated, with 7% waiting for their second dose.

Says SIC, 92% of the country over the age of 25 is already vaccinated – and if one takes out of the equation the number of under-12s that won’t be vaccinated (due to their age), Portugal is careering towards the point where between 88% – 90% of the country will very soon be fully-vaccinated against the virus.

Expresso adds that initially countries like Israel were vastly ahead of Europe in the process. “The panorama started to change at the beginning of the summer when several European countries advanced faster in the largest immunisation process in history”.

Already 99% of people over the age of 65 are fully vaccinated. That percentage only dips a little in the over 50s and over 40s.

Vaccination task force coordinator Henrique Gouveia e Melo – the man whose organisational prowess has powered Portugal through this process – admits that younger age groups are slightly less enthusiastic about getting jabbed, but only very slightly.

For example, in the over-40s, 2% of the population hasn’t taken up the vaccine. In the over 20s, it is around 4%.

Hopes now are that the country will move to the third and final step in deconfinement when parliament returns from summer recess next week.

Virologist Pedro Simas has been saying in his opinion any kind of debate on mask wearing in outdoor contexts is pointless. Masks should have been dropped when the country had fully vaccinated 60% of the population, as he explained, as happened in the UK.

None of today’s reports refer to what has happened in countries ‘ahead of Portugal’ in terms of vaccinations and the dropping of restrictions.

Israel, for example, recently found itself banned from travel to Portugal (as case numbers rose exponentially recently. The country is now in the process of administering booster shots).

In the UK, discussions are rampant on the possibility of a ‘firebreak’ October lockdown – as cases, and deaths, have risen in spite of stellar vaccination figures.

But, according to Pedro Simas, the risk of the pandemic in Portugal has long disappeared. 

The specialist with the Institute of Molecular Medicine has told Diário de Notícias that Portugal entered “an endemic phase of Covid-19” when 60% of the population had been vaccinated.

Since that moment the serious consequences of the virus have “diminished exponentially”, he said.

Pedro Simas claims it is actually “good” that SARS-CoV-2 is still circulating among the vaccinated population as this “increases immunity”.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com