"Yesterday [27 April] the three million vaccine milestone was reached with a very significant reduction in timelines. It took two months to give the first million, then it was 33 days to give the second million and 19 days to get from two million to three million. The pace accelerates as more vaccines arrive. I am sure that the four million mark will be [given in a period] shorter than the 19 days between the second and third million," said Diogo Serra Lopes.

The Secretary of State for Health commented, in Valongo, Porto district, during the start of the self-scheduling programme and for now is aimed at people over 65, who can choose the date and place to be vaccinated online, through a portal created for this purpose, found here https://covid19.min-saude.pt/pedido-de-agendamento

"Self-scheduling is absolutely essential to accelerate the pace," said the governor, pointing out that in the first few months 20,000 daily vaccines were administered, a number that has risen to 60,000 in recent weeks.

"And we all know that we have to increase to 100,000 vaccines daily", Diogo Serra Lopes pointed out, appealing to people to participate in the process.

The governor said that self-scheduling "takes away from health personnel the work of scheduling" vaccines, stressing that the goal "should be to vaccinate and not to schedule people".

In this regard Diogo Serra Lopes recalled that Citizen Spaces will be able to receive the registration for vaccines for those over 65 years old, as announced by the Minister of State Modernisation and Public Administration, Alexandra Leitão, during a hearing in the Public Administration, Administrative Modernisation, Decentralisation and Local Government Committee.

"And I am sure that the Municipal Councils and Parish Councils also collaborate and that also the grandchildren and people with more technological skills can collaborate. We already have tens of thousands of bookings. The limit was set at 65 years of age and it will go down as we reach 65 years of age and so on", said the Minister.

On the sidelines of the inauguration of the new Hemodialysis Centre of the São João Hospital, Diogo Serra Lopes also answered journalists' questions about the new strains, namely the Indian one, stressing that "the vaccine protects and the new variants are being studied".

"The new strains still have a very restricted circulation in Portugal and as in everything in this pandemic the level of information we have about the behaviour of the virus is far from perfect. Not even those who have the most widespread new variant recognise the characteristics of that variant," he said.

The governor added that he was convinced that "the entire scientific community is doing its best work to enable the political part to take the best decisions.