Covid-19 Vaccinations Updates

First Vaccine in Portugal

The national vaccination plan against covid-19 started on 27th December 2020 at the Hospital de São João, in Porto, with Doctor António Sarmento receiving the first dose by the nurse Isabel Ribeiro. It was administered at 10:07 am to António Sarmento under the eye of Minister Marta Temido and in front of dozens media and to the sound of applause.

Nurse Ana Isabel Ribeiro says that vaccination provides more security to professionals to face the difficult times that may still come. The nurse describes vaccination as a moment of hope.

“It is an honour to be here. It has been a very hard month, we have seen patients very badly, patients we have not been able to save and others who have remade their lives with restrictions,” she said.


The live update on the number of people vaccinated in Portugal can be downloaded here from the SNS website 

DGS Vaccination reports with statistics can be downloaded here

Weekly Summaries

Our volunteer Mark Fieldsend will be producing a weekly summary concerning vaccines, as there is much on this subject being reported daily – hence it is useful to publish this in a consolidated format.

Mark served in the Royal Navy for 36 years. His last post was as the British Defence Attaché in Madrid.

These are produced to coincide with the DGS vaccination updates each Tuesday. The latest report for 6th April is available here


Update 9th April 2021 – DGS recommends using the AstraZeneca vaccine over 60 years

The Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) reported yesterday (April 7) that there is a possible link between the administration of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and the occurrence of thrombotic events in atypical locations. In this sequence, these phenomena are included in the summary of the drug’s characteristics as adverse reactions. COVID-19 is a serious disease associated with risk of hospitalization and mortality. Overall, the EMA considered that the benefits related to the prevention of COVID-19 outweigh the risk of these adverse effects.


  • Above 60 years of age, there was no association between the use of this vaccine and the occurrence of these thrombotic phenomena;
  • Under 60 there is an association with rare and above expected thrombotic phenomena, which are still under investigation;
  • The decision to vaccinate always takes into account a balance between the benefits (preventing the disease) and the risks (adverse reactions of the vaccine);
  • As age advances, the risk of complications from COVID-19 increases and the risk of thrombotic events that are being associated with this vaccine decreases. In younger populations, the risk of complications from COVID-19 is low, especially in people without disease, and it is in these populations that thrombotic phenomena under investigation have been found.


The goal of the Vaccination Campaign against COVID-19 in Portugal is to save lives and prevent serious illness. This goal is achieved with any of the vaccines approved and used in Portugal.

The Directorate-General for Health recommends the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people over 60 years of age, where there was no association with the risk of adverse effects and where the benefits of vaccination are clear.

The Plan is adjusted to ensure that all people will be vaccinated with the vaccine that guarantees their greatest protection and safety, according to the defined priority groups.


Overview of vaccination phases

The entire Portuguese population can be vaccinated, as long as it is eligible according to the clinical indications approved for each vaccine in the European Union. However, priority groups were defined, as they are more vulnerable to COVID-19:

According to the vaccination plan, which may change due to the evolution of scientific knowledge and the indications and contraindications that may be approved by the European Medicines Agency, the vaccination strategy will be as follows:

Phase 1

  • From December 2020:
    • Health professionals involved in patient care
    • Professionals in the armed forces, security forces and critical services
    • Professionals and residents in Residential Structures for the Elderly (ERPI) and similar institutions
    • Professionals and users of the National Integrated Continuing Care Network (RNCCI).


  • From February 2021 :
      • People aged ≥50 years, with at least one of the following pathologies:
        • Cardiac insufficiency
        • Coronary heart disease
        • Renal insufficiency (Glomerular Filtration Rate <60ml / min)
        • (COPD) or chronic respiratory disease under ventilatory support and / or long-term oxygen therapy
      • All those of 80 years and over


Phase 1 Notes

For Phase one check with the SNS Website here concerning registration with SNS. If registered but are using a private doctor it is important that your medical records are up to date. The process to do this is here.

Wait until you are contacted by the health authorities.

  • People over 50 and associated diseases (coronary heart disease, heart failure, kidney failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and all those over 80 will start to be vaccinated from February.
  • People between 50 and 79 years old with associated illnesses that are not followed by the National Health Service  should contact their attending physician to ensure inclusion in the first phase of the vaccination plan.  They will then be contacted by the health center to schedule the vaccination.


Phase 2 (from April 2021):

  • Persons aged ≥65 years (who have not been previously vaccinated)
    • People between 50 and 64 years of age, inclusive, with at least one of the following pathologies:
      • Diabetes
      • Active malignant neoplasm
      • Chronic kidney disease (Glomerular Filtration Rate> 60ml / min)
      • Liver failure
      • Arterial hypertension
      • Obesity
      • Other pathologies with less prevalence that may be defined later, depending on scientific knowledge


For Phases 1 and 2 you should check and update your contact details with SNS now through the DGS link here.


Phase 3 (on a date to be determined after the completion of the second phase):

    • The rest of the eligible population, which can also be prioritized.


No action to be taken at this stage for Phase 3

Vaccination Portal

A new page dedicated to vaccination against COVID-19 has been available since December 26, with information about the Vaccination Plan, the different phases or a simulator for each citizen to have a forecast of the date on which they will be vaccinated.

This portal was launched by the Government in close coordination with the task force, the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) and the Shared Services of the Ministry of Health (SPMS), and is online at the microsite COVID-19 and on the Estamos On portal, which can be found on the DGS site here and on the Government Estamos On site here .

This portal had already been previously announced by the coordinator of the task force responsible for preparing the Vaccination Plan against Covid-19, Francisco Ramos, and will be permanently updated, responding to the evolution of the vaccination process, which starts tomorrow (27 from December).

The published information will have a simple and clear language, answering the main questions that have been raised since the announcement of the arrival of the vaccine in our country – for example: “is the vaccine effective?”; “Is the vaccine safe?”; “What are the different types of vaccine that will be administered in Portugal”; “Which are the priority groups?”, Among others.

In addition to answering more general questions, there is also an area on this new page – FAQ’s – where you can find clarifications on more specific aspects such as the side effects of vaccines or what to do after being vaccinated.

Among the main highlights of the page is a simulation that the user can fill out to find out when he will be called by the NHS for vaccination. In addition to this tool, contacts and support lines are also available, which should be used by citizens who want to know more about the vaccination process. The page also provides the full vaccination plan.

Throughout 2021, the page will have periodic updates regarding the execution of the vaccination campaign, as well as other relevant news and information provided by the task force.


Among the main highlights of the page is a simulation that the user can fill out to find out approximately when he will be called by the SNS for vaccination. In addition to this tool, contacts and support lines are also available, which should be used by citizens who want to know more about the vaccination process.  More details and using the simulator here 




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