Vaccination begins in January

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 10-12-2020 14:00:00 · 0 Comments

The coordinator of the National Vaccination Plan has stated that, in principle, the first Covid-19 vaccines will begin to be given to the population at risk in early January, one or two days after arriving in Portugal.

Speaking on the RTP's "Great Interview" programme, Francisco Ramos expressed his conviction that on 29 December the European Union will give a positive opinion on the distribution of vaccines to member countries, admitting that the "great doubt is the quantity" of vaccines that will arrive in Portugal, with national access to Pfizer's 1.5 million vaccines expected in the first quarter of 2021.

He explained that a batch is expected to arrive in January and another batch in February (all of Pzifer's), and it is estimated that a decision by the health authorities on the final evaluation and acceptance of the Moderna vaccine will not be taken until mid-January.

If all goes well, Francisco Ramos admitted that still in January it will be possible to have access to vaccines from these pharmaceutical companies, warning however that there is some "uncertainty" citing that, for example, there is still no date for assessment of the AstraZeneca vaccine, although there is "hope" that there will be a decision in January or February.

"It is the best-case scenario, but there is still uncertainty, particularly about the amount" of vaccines available," he said, reiterating his confidence that in February the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is expected.

Faced with the anxiety linked to the arrival of the vaccines, Francisco Ramos said it was important to first obtain "guarantees of safety" in all vaccines and reiterated that "the quantities (of vaccine) are not yet known to arrive in the first batches", pointing out as priorities to prevent mortality, particularly of elderly people in homes, health and risk professionals and those suffering from "severe disease", associated with pathologies such as chronic kidney disease.

According to Francisco Ramos, if everything goes as planned, 950 thousand people will be vaccinated in this first priority until February.

Health centres will also call for the vaccination of people with a medical declaration to certify a medical condition that will allow vaccination in the first phase of the plan.

"What is the routine capacity is 50,000 inoculations per day without jeopardizing the other normal activities of the Health Centres," said Francisco Ramos.

"In large cities it will be possible to find other spaces where the teams from the Health Centres operate" vaccination, he said.

As for the Pfizer vaccine, he said there will be only one delivery point on the mainland, with distribution to the rest of the country, with the exception of the Azores and Madeira where delivery logistics will be specific because they are islands.

Ramos expressed confidence in the plan and said that "in the best scenario" experts admitted that 50-70 percent of the population could be vaccinated by the end of spring, but noted that vaccination was not mandatory.



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