Monday, March 1, 2021

Late vaccines leave 1 million without injection by the end of March

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Vasco Célio / Lusa

Failure to deliver vaccines against covid-19 will delay the vaccination of another million Portuguese. Initial target cannot be met and mass process should focus on the three summer months, which will hamper government work.

António Costa informed this Thursday in a press conference that the delivery of 4.4 million vaccines against the new coronavirus was contracted in the first quarter, but that Portugal will only receive 1,980,000 in that period.

Since two doses of each of the three currently authorized vaccines are required (BioNTech / Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca / Oxford), this will only allow you to vaccinate completely 1 million people.

This news indicates that the vaccination process in Portugal will have some delays. In the announcement of the vaccination plan, made at the beginning of last December, it was stated that in the first three months of the year more than 4 million doses were expected to be delivered, which would allow more than 2 million people to be inoculated by the end of March. .

However, two weeks later, the then coordinator of the task force created by the Government to manage the vaccination plan, Francisco Ramos, admitted that the doses that we would receive in the first quarter would hardly exceed 2.5 million, recalls Público.

The end of the first vaccination phase, which initially provided for the vaccination of 950 thousand people, including health professionals, residents of nursing homes and their employees and people over 50 with certain pathologies, should only end in April.

At the end of January, the task force announced that at this stage people from the age of 80 would be integrated, even without diseases, an estimated group of 670 thousand citizens who started being vaccinated earlier this month, except for those who lived in homes, who were vaccinated before. The priority was, however, for the elderly over 80 years old with associated diseases.

At this moment, the expectation is that before the end of June it is possible to start vaccinating the rest of the population, which, in a first stage, should not include children or the more than 750 thousand people who have already been infected with the new coronavirus.

Therefore, it is possible to focus on the summer months vaccination of more than 4 million people, a complex challenge since it will require the administration of at least 8 million doses in three months.

In this scenario, it will be necessary to vaccinate about 87 thousand people a day, including weekends, a capacity that exceeds that which exists in the National Health Service.

This should compel create rapid vaccination structures, What drive-thrus or sports halls. And if that is not enough, vaccination may be extended to pharmacies.

On the other hand, and despite the delays in vaccine deliveries, Portugal stands out in testing. It is the 17th country in the world that has done the most tests for every thousand people, with an average of 738 screenings also performed per thousand people, according to data from Our World In Data.

The DGS announced this Wednesday that it would further strengthen its ability to carry out laboratory tests for the screening of covid-19, in order to extend the testing to all people who have been in contact with someone infected.

Portugal is already among the 20 countries around the world that have performed the most tests in proportion to its population.

Ana Isabel Moura Ana Isabel Moura, ZAP //

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Late vaccines leave 1 million without injection by the end of March