Portugal received today the first batch of vaccines from AstraZeneca – ZAP

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Hendrik Schmidt / EPA Pool

Portugal today received a batch of 43,200 vaccines from AstraZeneca, the first from this laboratory, the Lusa task force informed the national vaccination plan against covid-19.

“It is informed, after the normal verification procedures have been carried out, of the arrival in Portugal today Sunday, February 7, of a batch of 43,200 AstraZeneca vaccines“, Said the task force in a brief statement sent to Lusa.

This is the third vaccine against the new coronavirus to arrive in the country, after Pfizer and Moderna.

The first batch of the AstraZeneca / Oxford consortium was received in Portugal the day after the first 196,800 doses arrived in Spain, according to the Spanish Ministry of Health.

In an update of the vaccination process against covid-19 in Portugal until February 1, the Minister of Health, Marta Temido, said that the country has already received more than 400 thousand vaccines, 387,270 from BioNTech / Pfizer is 19,200 from Modern.

From BioNTech / Pfizer, 86,580 vaccines arrived, of which 11,700 were sent to the Azores and 11,700 to Madeira.

Two more vaccine deliveries from Moderna and three from Pfizer are scheduled for February and the second for AstraZeneca vaccine, the most recent to be approved by the European Medicines Agency, with Marta Temido affirming that the deliveries of this pharmaceutical total 200 thousand.

The delivery of the first batch of AstraZeneca to Portugal takes place on the same day that it was revealed that this vaccine offers limited protection against the variant detected in South Africa, according to preliminary results of a study to be published on Monday.

Research by experts at Oxford and South African universities in Witwatersrand – whose findings were advanced on Saturday by the British newspaper Financial Times – showed that the vaccine has limited effectiveness against this mutation.

Delivery also comes at a time when several countries are discouraging the administration of this vaccine to people over 65.

Last week, and in the middle of a contractual conflict between Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals and the European Commission, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave the green light to the use of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine to be administered to adults from 18 years, without imposing an upper age limit.

Until now, Portugal has not issued any recommendation concerning the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine.

The task force for the national vaccination plan against covid-19 has a meeting scheduled for Monday, the first to be led by Vice Admiral Gouveia e Melo, who on Wednesday replaced the previous coordinator, Francisco Ramos , who resigned from his post, alleging irregularities in the selection process for inoculations at the Red Cross Hospital, where he is chairman of the executive committee.

The national vaccination plan against covid-19 started on 27 December with the administration of vaccines to health professionals in hospitals directly involved in providing care to patients.

As the Minister of Health said on Thursday, the country had that day “About 378 thousand vaccine inoculations ”against covid-19.

On Tuesday, vaccination started in health centers for elderly people aged 80 and over and people over 50 with associated diseases.

The vaccination campaign against covid-19 was planned according to the availability of vaccines contracted for Portugal, which are being administered in stages to priority groups, until the entire eligible population is vaccinated.

Phase 1 covers health professionals directly involved in providing care to patients, staff and users of nursing homes and the national network of integrated long-term care, as well as elements of the armed forces, security forces, critical and regular services sovereign bodies and senior public entities.