“Even during the pandemic years and now (in 2022), when we are in a normalisation phase, we continue to have excellent results in the PNV, with excellent coverage rates”, said Teresa Fernandes to the Lusa agency.

Data from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), released during World Immunization Week, indicate that, in the first year of life, 98% to 99% of children were vaccinated with all vaccines and doses provided for in the PNV for this age group.

Vaccination coverage in children up to seven years of age was also high, surpassing the target of 95% for most vaccines, while in adolescents it was more than 90% and in adults above 80%.

As for the complete vaccination of girls with the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine, the goal of 85% from the year they turn 12 has passed, even during the pandemic, while the vaccination coverage of boys reveals an “excellent adherence to vaccination”, with coverage very close to that obtained in females for the first dose.

Vaccine culture

For the program coordinator, the vaccine culture that exists in Portugal is due to the fact that the PNV had “a good cradle” when it was created in 1965, with planning and organisation that made vaccination “becoming accessible to all people, whatever their social and economic status”.

“People have been trusting over time” in the importance of immunization, said Teresa Fernandes, noting that the principles of free and universal vaccination in Portugal has also “helped to strengthen the PNV”.