Vaccine uptake “a truly altruistic gesture”

Education minister Tiago Brandão Rodrigues has been doing his best to encourage teachers to respond to this weekend’s mass-vaccination campaign after it has become clear that uptake is not completely consensual. At least 3% of the 166,000 teaching and non-teaching staff who could be vaccinated today and tomorrow have said they do not want the vaccine, while 9% have not answered text messages calling them for their shots. Mr Brandão Rodrigues told SIC television news, the acceptance of the vaccine is “a truly altruistic gesture”. Indeed, in his opinion, it is a ‘civic duty’, albeit not compulsory. Vaccine coordinator Henrique Gouveia e Melo has been a little less ‘gentle’, saying anyone who doesn’t take advantage of the vaccines being offered “is playing Totoloto (the national lottery)” and risking becoming “one of the one in 600 who died in 2020”. The last analogy doesn’t quite work (as no one could become one of the one in 600 who died in 2020, as we are now in 2021), but the message was loud and clear: refusing the vaccine is not viewed benignly.