The coordinator of the National Vaccination Plan foresaw today that, in principle, the first vaccines against covid-19 will begin to be administered to the population at risk in early January, a day or two after arriving in Portugal.
Speaking on RTP’s “Big Interview” program, Francisco Ramos was convinced that on December 29 the European Union will give a positive opinion for the distribution of vaccines to member countries, admitting that the “big doubt is the quantity” of vaccines that will arrive in Portugal, with the national access of 1.5 million vaccines from Pfizer pharmacy in the first quarter of 2021.
As he explained, it is predicted that one batch will arrive in January and another batch in February (all from Pzifer), and it is estimated that only in mid-January should a decision be made by the health authorities on the final evaluation and acceptance of Moderna’s vaccine. .
If all goes well, Francisco Ramos admitted that in January it will also be possible to have access to vaccines from these pharmaceutical companies, warning however that there is some “uncertainty” citing that, for example, there is still no date for appreciation of the AstraZeneca vaccine, although there is still “hope” that there will be a decision in January or February.
“It is the best scenario, but there is still uncertainty, namely regarding the quantity” of vaccines available “, he said, reiterating his confidence that in February it is expected to have the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine.
In view of the anxiety associated with the arrival of vaccines, Francisco Ramos stressed that it is important to first obtain “safety guarantees” in all vaccines and reiterated that “it is not yet known what quantities (of vaccine) will arrive in the first batches”, pointing out how priorities to prevent mortality, namely of elderly people in homes, health and risk professionals and those who suffer from “severe disease”, associated with pathologies such as chronic kidney disease.
The coordinator for the National Vaccination Plan against covid-19 mentioned that 50% of deaths affect people “over 50 years of age”, mainly those with associated pathologies.
According to Francisco Ramos, if everything goes as planned, 950 thousand people will be vaccinated in this first priority until February and indicated that the elderly in the homes “will not be vaccinated on the same day”, that is, simultaneously, but as the vaccines are distributed to homes and hospitals, where people at risk will be marked “with location, date and time”.
It will also be the Health Centers that call for the vaccination of people with a medical declaration attesting to the clinical condition that allows vaccination in the first phase of the plan.
“What is the routine capacity is 50 thousand inoculations a day without jeopardizing the other normal activities of the Health Centers”, guaranteed Francisco Ramos, admitting that in the most populous cities other spaces could be defined to vaccinate people with right to inoculation against the coronavirus.
“In large cities it will be possible to find other spaces where the teams of the Health Centers operate” the vaccination, he said.
As for the Pfizer vaccine, he said that there will be only one delivery point on the continent, with distribution to the rest of the national territory, with the exception of the Azores and Madeira where the delivery logistics will be specific because they are islands.
Francisco Ramos was confident in the plan and pointed out that “in the best scenario” the experts admit that 50 to 70% of the population may be vaccinated by the end of spring, noting however that vaccination is not mandatory.
However, he warned that “we have to wait a few more months to see if vaccines do what they promise”, in an allusion to effectiveness.
The former Secretary of State for Health welcomed the support and articulation of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), INFARMED, Shared Services of the Ministry of Health and the Armed Forces (FA), saying that the latter’s support gives him ” an enormous tranquility “taking into account the joint work that he had in the past with the FA when he was at the Portuguese Institute of Oncology (IPO)