The head of the vaccine task force in Portugal, Vice Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo, did not commit to closing dates for the vaccine centres that have been set up but admitted that an eventual third dose of inoculations, if scientifically confirmed as necessary, should then be administered in the various health centres in the country.

“We already have 80 percent [of the population vaccinated] with the first doses and today we should be between 72 percent and 73 percent with the second. We have to have at least 85 percent [in each group]”, said the Task Force coordinator.

Gouveia e Melo stated that there are still “many people to be vaccinated” and the ongoing planning “depends a lot on how the Portuguese people adhere to the process”, but acknowledged that the eventual third dose should be administered in health centres if necessary.

The golden number of 85 percent was broken down by the head of the task force: “From 0 to 12 years of age there is about 12 percent of the population [who will not be vaccinated]. If there is another 1, 2 or 3 percent of the population who does not want to be vaccinated, which is a very low rate, we have 15 percent of the population [with the process completed]. Well, 100 percent minus 15 percent, it’s 85 percent”.

The vice-admiral stressed that “there is no decision on the third dose of the vaccine” and that the Directorate-General of Health is still evaluating the matter because “there is not even scientific certainty of its need”. If it is decided to go ahead, however, the number of users to benefit from this additional intake will be reduced.

“It is one thing to give one more dose to someone who is, for example, immuno-depressed or undergoing a specific treatment and has lower defenses”, and another is “to speak of a generalised third dose”.

“We are talking about 100,000 people [for the eventual third dose] and there is no need to have all this capacity [of municipal structures] to vaccinate 100,000 people. This can be done perfectly in health centres, with flu vaccinations and other things”, he said.