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  • @ Cynthia Adina Kirkwood

Portugal Achieving Vaccine Goals


The vaccine age qualification has been lowered to 12. (Photo by Antonio Cotrim/Lusa)

Portugal is well on its way to accomplishing its COVID-19 vaccination goal of 70 percent in the first week of September.


SIC Noticias (August 18) reported that 66 percent of the population, or 6,760 million, were fully vaccinated, according to the data of the Directorate of General Health (DGS).


Vice Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo, the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Coordinator, aimed to administer the first of two doses to 70 percent of the population between August 8 and August 15, according to SIC Noticias (July 4). This goal has been reached and surpassed:


Seventy-six percent, or 7,791 million, have received one of two doses, reported SIC Noticias (August 18).


Now, Gouveia e Melo plans to administer the first of two doses to 85 percent by September 1, according to SIC Noticias (August 15).


“This operation led by Gouveia e Melo has contributed to the reinforcement of confidence in the Armed Forces,” said SIC Noticias commentator, Luis Marques Mendes, on August 15.


Portugal ramped up its vaccine rollout in July when the highly transmissible Delta variant became dominant. In the last week of July, the Ricardo Jorge Institute said that the Delta variant had a relative frequency of 98.9 percent, reported RTP (August 10).


“The vaccines are working, and working well,” according to The Atlantic (August 12). “Vaccinated people are indisputably safer than unvaccinated people.


In Europe, the country that administered one vaccine to the greatest percentage of its population was Malta at 92 percent with Portugal right behind it at 74 percent, according to One World in Data (August 15).


In addition, Portugal has donated nearly 300,000 AstraZeneca vaccines to the following members of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries: Sao Tome and Principe (12,000); Timor (12,000); Guinea-Bissau (24,000); Cabo Verde (48,000); Mozambique (50,000), and Angola (50,000), according to SIC Noticias (August 15).


Vaccinations for those aged 12 to 15 have been approved. Last weekend, the first doses were administered to them.


More than 111,000 adolescents between 12 and 15, which represents more than one-quarter of the total (400,000), were signed up for COVID-19 vaccines, according to Jornal de Noticias (August 13).


“All vaccination centers in the country spent two days administering the first doses to 16- and 17-year-olds. Of the approximately 193,000 eligible adolescents, 80 percent were vaccinated,” reported SIC Noticias (August 16).


“Those who were not vaccinated during the weekend will have the opportunity to do so (as of August 16) through the Casa Aberta (Open House) for those older than 16” at their registered health center’s vaccine center as walk-ins.


“For those aged 12 to 15 who have not scheduled the vaccine, a new self-scheduling period will be opened in the next few days. Vaccination for this age group takes place over the next two weekends.”


For those 18 and older, the following is the link for a vaccine appointment. For English, click on the globe on the upper right:


https://covid19.min-saude.pt/


Date of birth, fiscal number, and patient user (utente) number are requested on the Directorate of Health (DGS) form. If you do not have a patient number, it asks for the identification number of your citizens’ card or passport.


After choosing a location from a dropdown menu, an appointment day is issued online immediately. An SMS should follow with a confirmed time.


All EU citizens and permanent residents who have been immunized by vaccination, tested negative, or recovered from COVID-19 will be able to prove it with the digital certificate, which can be printed, issued by national authorities:


https://www.sns24.gov.pt/


“Full vaccination is 96 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations from Delta, and unvaccinated people make up more than 95 percent of COVID-19 patients in American hospital beds,” reported The Atlantic. “Full vaccination (with the mRNA vaccines, at least)” – Pfizer and Moderna – “is about 88 percent effective at preventing symptomatic disease caused by Delta.


“Breakthrough infections are possible but affect only 0.01 to 0.29 percent of fully vaccinated people, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Breakthroughs might seem common -- 0.29 percent of 166 million fully vaccinated Americans still means almost 500,000 breakthroughs -- but they are relatively rare. And though they might feel miserable, they are much milder than equivalent infections in unvaccinated people.”




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