Prime Minister António Costa, the Minister of Health, Marta Temido, and the Secretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs and coordinator of the fight against Covid-19 in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region, Duarte Cordeiro, accompanied the start of the vaccination process at the Family Health Units, in Alvalade, Lisbon.
This was the first day of administration of the vaccine in health centers, to people over 80 or over 50 and associated pathologies, within the framework of the first phase of the vaccination plan.
The Prime Minister stated that the Family Health Units Alvalade and Parque, both located in the Health Center of Alvalade, are “an example of all health units that, in the country, progressively, starting today, will start with the new phase of the vaccination process’.
900 thousand people
This is «a much more demanding process, covering a universe of about 900 thousand people, those over 80 and over 50 and associated diseases, and which will require a great capacity to mobilize all these units of health”.
“We already have more than 400 thousand people who have had at least the first dose: health professionals considered priority, all users and home workers, other homes for the elderly and long-term care units,” he said.
António Costa added that “now we are going to make a big leap, which is to reach a much more diverse population and using less confined spaces than hospitals and homes”.
“We will have two months of very demanding work, which will be essential to prepare for the next phase, in which, having already vaccinated everyone over 80 and those over 50 with comorbidities, we start addressing the population in general”, he said.
The Prime Minister said that general vaccination “will be a much more complex exercise, which will be limited by the amount of vaccines available”.
However, he added, “there is a very big effort by the European Commission to get the industry to fulfil the contracts, to increase its production capacity, so that we can speed up the vaccination process”.
Ensuring pandemic eradication
Vaccination «is essential because it is the only way to eradicate the pandemic. We know that we have excellent health professionals – in hospitals treating those who have to be hospitalized, accompanying patients who may be at home -, that the whole community is making a great effort to prevent contagion through the use of masks, distance , etc., but the vaccine is the guarantee of eradicating the pandemic ”.
António Costa said that “a very significant sign of the confidence that the Portuguese have in the National Health Service and in all those who work in it, is the desire of the Portuguese to be vaccinated, as your experience shows».
However, “it is not worth having excessive anxiety, nor rushing to the local health units to ask for the vaccine. Each one will be contacted to receive the vaccine at the right moment”».
“It is essential that we respect the priority criteria that the technical and health authorities define. It is useless to act as bench coaches, thinking that this disease should be a priority over that one”, he added.
“We trust what professionals and doctors tell us, such as when we go to a doctor’s appointment: when he tells us that we have to take that syrup, we have to take it; that we have to take that antibiotic, we take the antibiotic”, he said.
The Prime Minister underlined that “we must follow the rules and do nothing to contradict them. If we do this, knowing that the doses of vaccine that are made available to us are limited, we will reach everyone as quickly as possible and, as a priority, those who need it most ».
António Costa wished “all the best of luck in this process: to those who are going to be vaccinated and to the professionals, for the great effort they will have to do, because, in addition to the day-to-day work, they now have this vaccine to give”.
Vaccines control disease
“As the nurse-coordinator said, this is a worthwhile effort in a country where, fortunately, for decades, we have become accustomed to the fact that vaccination is a fundamental step in controlling the disease”.
«It has been like this for generations, and this has allowed us to improve the results achieved in health. And this is another vaccine », he said.
The Prime Minister thanked the staff of the two Family Health Units for having “helped set the example for the country that it is possible, it is worthwhile, and each, in turn, wait for the message with the day, time and place to be vaccinated ‘.
Vaccination will take time
The Minister of Health, Marta Temido, affirmed that the vaccination process, “as much as we want to accelerate, it will still take time and a time when it is essential that everyone, the vaccinated and the rest of the population, continue to maintain the measures of protection, from the physical distance to the use of masks, to the aeration of spaces and hand hygiene ».
The Government has “applied the vaccination plan in compliance with the technical guidelines defined by the National Technical Vaccination Commission, the Directorate-General for Health and the plan’s task force”.
Thus, “of the priority health professionals, whether from the NHS or from other institutions, many have already been vaccinated, residents and professionals of nursing homes and units in the long-term care network have all been vaccinated, except in units where there were outbreaks,” he said. .
Innovative contact system
Now, “we are moving towards a more complex phase” of vaccination for a large population group that is not concentrated in some places, he said, highlighting the “innovative process of introducing the message system so that people can be called for vaccination. ».
Marta Temido also said that “people who do not have a family health team or family doctor, can go to the private doctor and, being able to be vaccinated, receive a declaration that they are eligible” and that they must present in health centers .
The Minister underlined that the Government’s concern “is to ensure that the system reaches everyone properly”.