Portugal’s plan to ‘thwart spread of Delta’ includes vaccinating 850,000 people per week

Portugal’s plan to thwart the worst effects of the spread of the Delta variant is to accelerate numbers being vaccinated.

The objective is to vaccinate up to 140,000 people per day – seeing every week end with another 850,000 at least either completing or having started the process of their vaccinations.

Task force coordinator vice admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo has repeated his message that the “country is in a war against the virus”, and now is the time to “do the maximum to bring the process of vaccination forwards”.

“We have reached a rhythm of 100,000 (vaccinations) a day but we have to increase this and use up all our stocks of vaccines – which means we will reduce the security we have in terms of reserves but bring forwards the whole vaccination process”, he told Lusa.

Say reports, “the next two weeks will be decisive”.

“We are using all our methods of scheduling – online, central, local and through the ‘open house’ system – to raise the limit. We will extend operating hours of vaccination centres, reinforce teams”, said Gouveia e Melo, adding that the ‘down side’ of the process will mean “undesirable queues”.

“I want to apologise to anyone who has to wait half an hour or an hour in a queue, but it is the other side of the coin between the quality of the process for the rhythm of vaccination and the urgency. In this next phase, we have to prioritize urgency”, he said.

Meantime, new changes are being introduced at a pace.

The latest involves “anyone who was vaccinated with the first dose of AstraZeneca on or before May 23”. These people people can now receive their second dose “without any appointment”. All they have to do is  walk into their vaccination centre.

The ‘vaccination open house’ policy has moved down to the age of 45 – meaning anyone of 45 or over who has not been vaccinated can also walk into a vaccination centre and start the process – while new orientation has been passed over people who, for whatever reason, did not complete their vaccinations (ie missed the second jab). These can also ‘walk in’ to a vaccination centre, and “may be offered a completely different brand of vaccine”, explain reports.

In other words, authorities are focused on protecting the largest number of citizens by vaccinating them ‘any which way’ as fast as possible while the Delta variant steams through society.

Today’s bulletin reports no deaths anywhere in Portugal from Covid-19, but there have been another 2,041 cases flagged, along with further pressure on the health system in terms of hospital admissions and admissions into intensive care units.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com