Head of SIM, Jorge Roque da Cunha. ANTÓNIO PEDRO SANTOS/LUSA

Portugal’s Independent Union of Doctors accuses government of vaccination ‘propaganda’ 

The secretary general of Portugal’s Independent Union of Doctors (SIM) accused the government on Saturday of ‘propaganda’ surrounding its vaccination plan, claiming there were many people in the front line to combat the pandemic who have not yet been vaccinated.

“This attitude of saying that you are going to vaccinate teachers…is useless and totally unspeakable” when it is known that many of the people in the front line have not even been vaccinated yet,” Jorge Roque da Cunha told Lusa news agency. 

Roque da Cunha told Lusa at the end of a congress that only about 75 to 80% of doctors, 20% of police guards and about 25% of firefighters had been vaccinated.

“It’s no use, it’s not worth it, it doesn’t make sense just to take the picture and leave hundreds, thousands of these professionals unvaccinated,” he added. 

Only about 10% of people over 80 have had both shots and about 40% have had one shot, he pointed out.

Roque da Cunha says that when talking about extending vaccination to teachers, the government “is creating expectations” and creating “immense pressure on health services”, saying that doctors, “instead of being concerned with treating their patients are responding and trying to justify the government’s propaganda.”

He added: “It is better for the Government to stop advertising in relation to this matter and to be true. There are no vaccines. It is only possible to vaccinate these groups, including those at risk, in two, three or four months.”