“We are concerned about the speed of response, above all, to questions such as what are the associated underlying diseases that determine the vaccination of young people between 12 and 15 years of age? Will specific and clear indications be given to the doctors who will have the task of recommending the vaccine, if necessary? When can we wait for the start of vaccination in this age group?”, asks the president of the association, Joaquim Brites.
Speaking to Lusa News Agency, Joaquim Brites asks that the DGS statement created "generate confusion" between parents and doctors.
“When the first vaccination plan was launched, there were doubts about what the diseases were considered as underlying health problems. We were talking about adults, over 18 years old, who had to be vaccinated although vaccination was prioritised by age groups, but it was never mentioned what kind of diseases they considered to be underlying”, he said.
This was passed because a list of some diseases appeared, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or cystic fibrosis, and then, as people were vaccinated by age groups, patients were gradually vaccinated.
With the children, he said, what happened was that, "in the midst of the confusion in which there are some pediatricians who agree and others who do not, the DGS recommended vaccination to all children who have underlying conditions, again without explaining which ones".
For Joaquim Brites, these decisions have to be “technical and scientific” and not political, pointing out what happened in Madeira when it was the Regional Government that decided to vaccinate all young people from the age of 12, whether they have diseases or not.
“On the mainland, what happens is that the doctor will have to decide (…), so what the DGS ended up doing was launching confusion.”, he criticised.
In his opinion, there has to be “some common sense” when making a decision like this because it's about “thousands of people” who have children with illnesses or healthy children who don't know what to do.
“We have between six and eight thousand diagnosed diseases. If we take into account that there are many patients who have a rare disease in which the doctor who follows them does not know whether or not that disease can be affected by the vaccine or can even be harmed by Covid-19, then what is the doctor going to decide?”, he asks.
"They can even develop a respiratory complication that can lead to a respiratory infection so severe that it leads to death. So what are we going to do? Will the vaccine protect the neuromuscular ones or not? I don't know because there are no studies that say that can be protected”, he stressed.
For Joaquim Brites, all these issues will delay the vaccination process and contribute to "the continuous degradation of the quality of life of young people with serious diseases such as neuromuscular", which are genetic, hereditary and progressive diseases and all have in common the lack of muscle strength.