The coordinator of task force of vaccination defended today that there must be a “national balance” in the pace of vaccination, and therefore the process should be reinforced in the most backward municipalities, such as Sintra.
“We have on average 100,000 vaccines a day and instead of giving vaccines in a region, area or municipality that is already heavily vaccinated, we give vaccines in regions that are less vaccinated, balancing the process”, explained Vice Admiral Gouveia e Melo.
The coordinator was speaking to journalists at the end of a visit to the Monte Abraao vaccination center, in the municipality of Sintra, where in recent days there have been long queues for vaccination.
Before visiting the vaccination center, accompanied by the Mayor of Sintra, Basílio Horta, and the President of the Regional Health Administration of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, Luís Pisco, Gouveia e Melo said that his visit was to assess the situation and to help resolve the issue.
“This problem is undesirable and cannot happen and that is why I came here”, said the coordinator of the vaccination plan against covid-10, noting that “there are not many centers where there are long lines”.
At the end of the visit and of a meeting with the various entities, Gouveia e Melo said that “there are some aspects that are macro to the system”, related to the amount of vaccines that have to be delivered in Sintra in relation to the population that has it.
“This has to be adjusted. And then there are the micro aspects that have to do with the organization of spaces”, he said, adding that both situations were analyzed and decisions were taken to “act quickly”.
One of the decisions concerns the strengthening of vaccination in this county. “The Lisbon Region is recovering, but within the Lisbon region this council is behind, therefore, it has to be reinforced with human resources”, he stressed.
On the other hand, he said, there is no point in increasing the number of vaccines and then not being able to administer them: “the ability to vaccinate and, for that, the efficiency of the spaces that exist must be improved and, if necessary, increase one more space”.
To that end, he said, tonight a team of military personnel will travel to the vaccination center to “help improve” its efficiency.
“We have to improve the layout of the space and its organization in order to make it very efficient” as happens in most places.
In the center of Monte Abrão there is “a small organizational problem that is not very complicated”. However, he said, “sometimes a small disturbance reverberates in a chain and then creates queues that are not desirable.”
Early this morning there was a long line for vaccination which quickly dissipated, with people saying that the process had been quick unlike what had happened on Tuesday.
Commenting on this situation, Gouveia e Melo said that the health authorities do not want “queues, neither at the beginning of the day, nor at the middle of the day, nor at the end of the day”.
“This process has to be organized in such a way that the population is respected (…) everyone’s time is very valuable, so we can’t put people on hold”, he maintained, commenting that he didn’t like to see the queues when he arrived downtown at 9:30 am today.
The closure of other vaccination centers in the county contributed to the long lines, people going earlier than the scheduled time and the pavilion only opening at 09:00 when there are appointments for 09:01.
For Gouveia and Melo, centers must open 15 to 20 minutes before the first appointment, to make the accreditation of the first person to be vaccinated: “These are things that have to be corrected”.
Speaking to journalists, the mayor of Sintra said that he had decided to ask for support to task force to operationalize vaccination in the county.
“As it was not happening with the ARS and the Government, the Chamber decided to ask the task force they were very supportive and we ourselves took on responsibilities that we didn’t have until now and that we now have and we gladly take it on,” said the mayor.
Basilio Horta he underlined that there was a need to change and that is what they are going to do: “we are going to make it operational, we are going to vaccinate more with what we have and if necessary we are going to recover and recruit”.