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Portugal: Vaccine Age Drops As Infected Get Younger

Updated: Jun 29


The country is in a state of calamity; restrictions vary regionally. (Photo by AFP)

Age eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine continues to lower as infections increased 55 percent for those 15 to 24 years old, according to SIC Noticias (June 26).


As of July 4, those 18 and older will be able to make an online appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine.


If you are 33 or older, you are able to self-schedule a vaccination now, according to SIC Noticias (June 29).


If you are 50 and older and you have not yet had your first vaccine, you may visit a vaccine center without an appointment in a “Casa Aberta” (“Open House”) effort, reported SIC Noticias (June 23).


In addition, Portugal approved a European Union digital COVID certificate to allow people to travel freely and safely, said Prime Minister Antonio Costa (June 16) on Portugal’s EU website. The certificate can be used as of July 1 in the EU. However, it may be used to travel in restricted areas of Portugal as soon as the weekend of June 26.


All EU citizens 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/


The Delta variant, which was first detected in India, is predominant in Portugal, and it accounts for an estimated 70 percent of the cases of infection in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo and 20 percent in the North, according to health authorities on RTP (June 25).


Considered by specialists to be the most contagious COVID-19 variant, Delta is in “rapid expansion” on mainland Portugal, “similar to what happened in the United Kingdom”, according to a document of the Directorate of Health (DGS) and the Doctor Ricardo Jorge National Institute (INSA).


Vice-Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo, coordinator of the vaccination rollout, admitted that the Delta variant influenced the reduction of time between the two AstraZeneca jabs, according to SIC Noticias (June 23). For those receiving the first dose, the second dose will occur in eight weeks, not 12, reported SIC Noticias (June 21).


However, in a regular parliamentary hearing, Gouveia e Melo expressed his main concern of a lack of vaccines, SIC Noticias (June 23). In the second quarter, he had planned for 11 million vaccines, but Portugal received only 7.2 million.


The vaccine shortage could delay the target date for so-called herd immunity, or 70 percent vaccinated, by 15 days, said Gouveia e Melo. Instead of August 8, the target may be reached in the third week of August.


He guaranteed that the vaccination pace can be accelerated up to 140,000 per day if there are vaccines. Already, some daily totals have surpassed 100,000 and 120,000.


A total of 3.11 million people, or 30.3 percent, have been vaccinated completely, according to Our World in Data (June 24).


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 (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 follows with a confirmed time.


Currently, Pfizer BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), Moderna and Oxford AstraZeneca (now called Vaxzevria) vaccines are being administered in Portugal. They are the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency.


However, in Portugal, the AstraZeneca vaccine is not recommended for those 60 and younger. Also, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not recommended for women 50 years and younger, according to SIC Noticias (June 9). There are no restrictions for men 18 and older.


The vaccines consist of two doses, except for Johnson & Johnson, which is one dose.

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