“It will obviously be a free, voluntary vaccination to be carried out by the National Health Service," said Marta Temido about the vaccination plan against Covid-19.

She was speaking to journalists, in Lisbon, at the end of a meeting attended by the Prime Minister, António Costa, the coordinator of the task force created by the government to draw up the vaccination plan and the Ministers of State and of the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, of Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita, and of National Defence, João Gomes Cravinho.

Asked whether the vaccine should be given in health centres or in large, less decentralised vaccination centres, Marta Temido said that it would beonly through the SNS, pointing out two possible scenarios.

"A first moment in which there will be a context of greater shortage of access to vaccines and therefore also like what other countries have been planning will be a more controlled scenario, but then we admit that throughout 2021 we will move to a more comprehensive scenario with more doses available and also greater expansion of administration points," she explained.

"In an extreme end-of-year scenario, it is equable that there will be a much more decentralised distribution than at an initial moment," she also stressed that the vaccination process will be long and that the Portuguese will not be able to "depart from the rules" to which they have been accustomed to in times of pandemic.

While admitting that the first vaccines may be available in the first weeks of 2021, if the Pfizer/BioNTech candidate is approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) at the meeting scheduled for 29 December, the minister noted that this availability depends on several factors.

About the plan that will be presented by the Prime Minister, António Costa, the Health Minister said that a central point for distribution of vaccines to other secondary points will be defined, but some pharmaceutical companies have also made themselves available to get them to vaccination points.