Portugal’s health centres run out of babies “triple vaccine”

Children’s vaccine “Tetravalente” – the multidose protection offered against tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough and polio – has run out in a number of health centres up and down the country. But health chiefs are convinced there is “no reason for alarm”.

If children have already received their first dose (offered during the first few months after birth), a delay in the 15-month booster shot should not cause any problems.

Equally, those due for their 4-6-year-old booster shots should already have sufficient protection to see them through till stocks are replenished, paediatrician Libério Ribeiro has told Correio da Manhã.

Quite where this leaves the “national vaccination programme” is another matter.

According to Ribeiro, it needs “reorganising”.

Meantime, any children who have not been vaccinated remain technically at risk.

The good news is that tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough and polio are now classified as rare diseases – and as many as 95% of Portugal’s babies are thought to be vaccinated.

The ‘bad news’, spelt out by Ribeiro, is that “more and more we are surrounded by people from countries that do not have the same kind of vaccination cover as ours”.

Ribeiro added that he did not think the lapse in vaccination stocks would last more than a few months.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com