António Lacerda Sales stated that the General Directorate of Health (DGS) will issue guidelines with "technical support for this third dose" or booster dose, noting that the vaccine will start first to be administered to people residing in nursing homes and those over 80 years of age.
"We will start with the most vulnerable groups, namely residents in nursing homes and those over the age of 80, then we will descend to the age group equal to or above 65 years, as was done when the first phase of Covid vaccination was carried out", he said.
The government official also stressed that this booster dose should be administered from 11 October.
The secretary of State said that the decision was made by the DGS following the decision of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), so that Portugal could move forward with booster jabs.
The EMA indicated that booster doses of BioNTech/Pfizer's Anticovid-19 vaccine “may be considered” for people over 18, six months after the second dose, to boost antibodies.
The EMA also decided that a third dose of the anti-covid-19 vaccine from BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna should only be given in the European Union (EU) to people with “severely weakened immune systems” after 28 days.
Asked whether the third dose of the vaccine against Covid-19 can be administered simultaneously with the flu jab, António Lacerda Sales said that they are waiting for a decision by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Right now there is no such technical indication, we are vaccinating with a difference of 14 days. We started the flu vaccination on 27 September. The start of the third dose vaccination, as we all hope, will be from 11 October, when the 14 days are up,” he said.
The Secretary of State also recalled that this booster dose will have to be administered six months after the second dose.
“These are the plans and we are working so that on 11 October we can start vaccinating with the booster dose or third dose”, he said, stressing that Portugal is already administering an additional dose to immunosuppressed patients.