“We are going to follow what is the opinion of the EMA [European regulator] for a third dose of vaccine and the approval of a third dose is not yet in the EMA agenda. We are awaiting this decision”, stated Marta Temido, in an interview with SIC.
The government official also recalled that the results of some studies should be known at the end of this month and that this information will be taken into account, as well as the "knowledge that individuals do not have an equal immune response" to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
However, Marta Temido also subscribed to the position that has been argued by the World Health Organization of having greater equity in the distribution of vaccines by the richest countries to poorer nations with low vaccination rates.
“There is no doubt that we will only be able to overcome this problem once and for all when we are all protected against it. Hence the efforts we have had as a country - in the context of the PALOP [Portuguese-speaking African Countries] and as a Member State of the European Union in relations with mechanisms such as Covax - to distribute vaccines to more poor countries. The idea that no one will be safe is essential until we are all safe”, she said.
Regarding the current epidemiological situation in Portugal, Marta Temido pointed out “some stability” in the number of new cases of infection compared to what happened in June or July, due to the spread of the Delta variant.
The Health minister also commented on the incident with some vaccines at the Queimódromo vaccination center in Porto, in which there was a break in the cold chain, ensuring that the ministry and the task force are still waiting for responses from several institutions.
"It is an answer that the pharmacovigilance analysis carried out by Infarmed experts will give in the very short term and depends on several elements that were requested in terms of information", she maintained, adding: "What was asked was, on the one hand, the pharmaceutical companies what analysis they had, and on the other hand, the European Medicines Agency what it recommended”.
Marta Temido did not rule out the scenario of a possible re-administration of vaccines in some of the users affected by this situation.
“People are being followed to avoid any reaction. We are going to assess what is the stability condition of that product and what may happen, but it is a remote hypothesis, it is that there is a need for revaccination of some people. Although the conditions were not ideal, they may still be within the safety level and that is what we want to know”, she said.