"The European Union (EU) coordinated a joint acquisition for the different countries. In an electronic Council of Ministers, we have authorised the acquisition of the first batch of 6.9 million vaccines. The EU has selected six of the various vaccines that are under development at world level as the six where it was worth investing", said António Costa, who was speaking in Vila Nova de Gaia, in the district of Porto, on a visit to the local hospital.
Also the statement of the Extraordinary Council of Ministers released in the meantime refers that the investment authorisation is 20 million Euros and that "the Portuguese State is thus associated with the acquisition of vaccines against covid-19 under the centralised European procedure".
"The optimists believe that at the end of this year there will be the first batches. The realists have to believe that the optimists are right, but we have to prepare ourselves so that it may not be so. Until there is a general immunisation of the population or a treatment for this disease, we have to be prepared for the worst so that the best can be done", he said.
António Costa also made a reference in the form of an appeal to the DGS, aiming to trust the work of the health authorities in preparing the distribution of the vaccine.
"We trust that the DGS will define the criteria to be followed by the progressive, universal and free vaccination of the Portuguese population to ensure immunisation", said the Prime Minister.
António Costa reiterated the idea that Portugal will not be able to go through a new phase of confinement, he referred to the reopening of schools and said that the future must be faced with "caution and care" before "this new reality, this new thing that is covid-19".
"The virus is very new and it is not really known how it behaves. There is one thing that we know - the experience of life has shown us that - people get sick more in autumn and winter. We have to prepare ourselves with the awareness that we will be able to have the capacity of response that we had in March when we decided to close the schools next year. We will not be able to completely close companies, business activities again, because that means thousands of jobs at risk and a collective destruction of the wealth of our country and the functioning of our society", he concluded.