Taking stock of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, Manuel Salavessa told the Lusa agency that the 45,000 phase III trial volunteers have all been vaccinated since 17 December.

"We hope to have the first phase III results later this January so that, if they are positive, as we hope, we will subsequently submit our application to the EMA [European Medicines Agency]," the Medical Director of the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company Janssen said in a written statement to Lusa.

After approval, he said, "the commitment with the authorities, particularly the Portuguese authorities, is that the first doses may be available in the second quarter of 2021".

The agreement with the European Commission provides for 200 million doses this year with an option for an additional 200 million doses.

For Portugal, said Manuel Salavessa, the commitment is 4.5 million doses for 2021, of which 1.25 million in the second quarter of 2021.

"Considering that it will be a single dose vaccine, we believe that it will make a very significant contribution in terms of the Portuguese population and to the fight against the pandemic", he stressed.