“The start of the distribution process should take place from the end of the year, but is always dependant on the evaluation of the European Medicines Agency. It is a light that begins to be seen at the end of the tunnel”, said António Lacerda Sales, regarding the recent announcement of the purchase of 6.9 million vaccines, in an estimated investment of 20 million Euros.

According to the minister, the vaccination strategy "will be determined by the Directorate-General for Health", but he recalled that until the vaccine becomes a reality, it is necessary to persist in the effort to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

“Until the vaccine arrives, the only vaccine we have is prevention, anticipation and preparation, this is what we continue to do, with the strengthening of the National Health Service. We continue to count on the resilience of the Portuguese until we pass this great challenge”, he stressed.

The president of Infarmed - Medicines Authority, Rui Santos Ivo, was also present at the conference and explained that vaccines will reach the population in “different terms”, also due to the different stages of development they are in at the moment.

“There are three very important factors: the first is the time - when we will have the vaccines; the second has to do with the characteristics of the vaccines; and the third concerns the conditions of access to vaccines. What this process aims at is to create a portfolio of options that will then allow us to provide an answer", he said, adding: "We will have to have vaccines in different periods, they will not all come together at the same time".

The leader of the Medicines Authority once again emphasised "the anticipation" and "uncertainty" with which the process is being conducted between the Member States and the European Commission, as well as the collective nature of the strategy.

“What is being done is also supporting the process of development and production of vaccines”, stressed Rui Santos Ivo, pointing out the preponderance of the evaluation by the European Medicines Agency: “We must have data on safety and efficacy of vaccines, a minimum amount of information that allows us to proceed with its use. We also have to know if we are going to administer just one dose or more, the regimen that will be applied will also result from this assessment”.