Task force is studying risks and benefits of immunizing children and young people – ZAP

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Manuel de Almeida / Lusa

Vice Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo, coordinator of the covid-19 vaccination plan

The coordinator of task force of vaccination against covid-19, Gouveia e Melo, announced this Wednesday that it is being studied how to vaccinate illegal immigrants, as well as the advantages and risks of immunizing children and young people.

“At this moment, what process to bring, not legalized ones, because they are perfectly identified, but not legalized ones to the vaccination process, is being studied”, said the Vice Admiral Gouveia e Melo to the “Great Interview” of RTP3.

According to the person responsible for the logistical plan, there is a need to create “a number in the national health system” for people who are illegally in the country, since “have to be identified in some way before the health services, even to follow the vaccination process and any illness they may have”.

“That’s what, at this moment, is being structured, not inside the task force – this task does not belong to the task force -, but as soon as this process is structured, they will have the right to be vaccinated, because they are residents in Portugal”, assured the vice-admiral.

Advantages and risks of immunizing children and young people

Regarding the possible vaccination of children and young people against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Henrique Gouveia e Melo said that this is a matter that is also being analyzed by the Directorate-General for Health.

There are several alternatives, one of them is to vaccinate them, the other is, with the entire adult population being vaccinated, only vaccinate people who move from adolescence to adulthood.” from 17 18 years old, said the coordinator of this working group.

Second said, with all vaccinated adults, which represent 90% of the Portuguese population, the virus that causes covid-19 “have a lot of difficulty surviving because it doesn’t find enough hosts to create a pandemic”, becoming endemic and controllable.

“Both things are on the table: what is group protection and how this protection is established and what are the risks and advantages of vaccinating a very young population”, he said.

In May, the European Commission has approved the use of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine for teens from 12 to 15 years old, after the approval of the European Medicines Agency, explaining that the decision is always up to the countries of the European Union (EU).

In the same interview, the coordinator of task force reiterated yet the august 8th goal to have 70% of the Portuguese population vaccinated, but stressed that achieving this goal depends on the number of vaccines that arrive in Portugal.

According to Gouveia e Melo, these vaccines are arriving in the country in a phased manner, which results in “negative and positive surprises”, since there are pharmaceutical companies “that fulfill the delivery of contracted doses better than others”.

There are two companies that perform very well, there is a company that did not comply very well and there is another company that, from time to time, does not comply”, said the vice-admiral, to whom these variations “create some problems” vaccination plan, as delays in vaccine delivery continue.

The coordinator added that, in recent weeks, an average of 80 to 100,000 doses daily and that, this week, Portugal has an availability of 103,000 vaccines per day.