Thursday, April 15, 2021

DGS recommends AstraZeneca vaccine to people over 60

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Miguel A. Lopes / Lusa

Graça Freitas, Rui Ivo and Henrique Gouveia e Melo at a press conference on the Astrazeneca vaccine

The AstraZeneca vaccine will only be administered to people over 60 years of age. The information, taken by the Directorate-General for Health, Infarmed and task force for vaccination against Covid-19, it was advanced at a press conference this Thursday evening.

The president of Infarmed, Rui Ivo, started the press conference referring to the conclusions of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which defended the administration of the vaccine to all ages, taking into account that its benefits continue to be greater than the risks.

“The decision to vaccinate must always take into account the balance between the benefits of preventing the disease and the risks,” said Rui Ivo.

In addition to not having identified the occurrence of thrombotic phenomena associated with the vaccine in people over 60, the president of Infarmed explained that “as age advances”, the risks associated with infection by covid-19 are greater, while the risk “of these thrombotic phenomena decreases”.

O vaccination goal is to “save lives and preventing serious illness, an objective that is achieved with any of the vaccines ”, reiterated the Director-General of Health, Graça Freitas.

However, the Directorate-General for Health recommends that the AstraZeneca vaccine be given over 60s only, while no further data on the subject is collected.

Graça Freitas says that people who have already been vaccinated with this vaccine should feel safe because until they take the second dose there will already be more information about the potential risks.

Regarding those who received the vaccine less than two weeks ago, they must remain “calm” and keep an eye out for signs which may indicate a potential adverse secondary event, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling in the legs, persistent belly pain, neurological symptoms (severe and persistent headaches or blurred vision) or small blood spots under the skin at the site where the injection was given.

“These adverse reactions are extremely rare. However, in the seven to 14 days after administration, they should be aware of symptoms, persistent headaches, bruises, red spots on the skin ”, said Graça Freitas.

A vteaching staff and non-teaching staff will therefore be postponed for a week, said Admiral Gouveia e Melo, coordinator of the task force of the Covid-19 Vaccination Plan.

This means that, instead of the vaccination taking place this weekend, it will be done next weekend – from 17 and 18 April – with the vaccines that are most suitable, without the plan being significantly affected.

In Portugal, there have only been two cases of thromboembolic events after vaccination against Covid-19, one after the AstraZeneca vaccine and the other after another vaccine. None of the cases resulted in the death of the sick.

The cases may be related to those that happened in other European countries, but they are not exactly the same, said Rui Ivo.

Vice Admiral Gouveia e Melo, coordinator of the task force, also says that they have already been administered 400 thousand doses of AstraZeneca and there are 200 thousand reserves.

During the second quarter, 1.4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be received, for a total of 8.8 million doses of vaccines against covid-19.

Considering that during the second quarter we will still be vaccinating mainly people over 60 years of age, there will be no significant impact on the Covid-19 Vaccination Plan, he concluded.

The Directorate-General for Health (DGS), the National Authority for Medicines and Health Products (Infarmed) and the task force for vaccination were meeting this afternoon to make decisions regarding the imposition of restrictions administration of the AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine.

The press conference was attended by the general director of health, Graça Freitas, the president of Infarmed, Rui Ivo, and the coordinator of the task force, Henrique Gouveia and Melo.

“Technical decisions are made by the services of DGS and Infarmed. It is up to us to wait and we will react, if necessary ”, defended Mariana Vieira da Silva, during the afternoon of this Thursday, after a meeting of the Council of Ministers, forwarding the decisions to the DGS and Infarmed.

The vaccine of the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has been involved in controversy and both the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded this week that there are links between taking the product and the appearance of blood clots.

Sofia Teixeira Santos Sofia Teixeira Santos, ZAP //

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