"Today, we updated the recommendations, including an additional dose, a new opportunity for vaccination, for people with immunosuppression and over 16 years of age, and this dose administration is carried out under the guidance and prescription of the assistant physician”, the General Directorate of Health told Lusa.
According to Graça Freitas, as of today, assistant physicians will be able to make this prescription, “as they already do for other pathologies and as they have done in the past and people will be vaccinated” in health centres. According to her, the "health centres will be able to vaccinate them", since this process "will be exactly as it happened in the other phases" with the vaccination of people with heart, respiratory and renal failure and seriously ill patients who were considered a priority.
"It will certainly be less than 100,000 people" who will be able to receive this additional dose of mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, said the director general of Health. “This is not reinforcement. It is an additional dose of vaccine, because it may have happened that, at the time these people were vaccinated, their immune system was not able to react to the vaccine”, she explained.
According to her, the update of the standard also provides for the administration of the additional dose with a minimum interval of three months after the last dose of the previously performed vaccination schedule. “People who took the last dose of the vaccine three months ago can be vaccinated, people who took the last dose of the vaccine two months ago or closer will have to wait,” said Graça Freitas.
According to the standard published today, eligible people are those who may have been vaccinated during a period of severe immunosuppression, namely those who underwent solid organ transplants, people with HIV infection with T-CD4+ lymphocyte count <200/µL, cancer patients and people with some autoimmune diseases who have undergone treatments. “The recommendation is in line with the most recent scientific evidence and may be adjusted based on the evolution of knowledge”, the standard adds. Asked about the possibility of a booster dose for the elderly, Graça Freitas stated that the pharmaceutical industry has not yet submitted the respective authorised process to the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
“When I say that it is being evaluated, it is in a sense of being studied. This does not mean that it should be administered now, because we are careful to understand what the international (EMA) and national (Infarmed) regulators indicate to us in this process”, she assured. According to Graça Freitas, DGS is thus at the stage of compiling information and continuously analysing the scientific evidence available in the various countries on this subject, awaiting the indications of the EMA and Infarmed.