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Covid-19: First to be vaccinated will be known in December

Published on November 19, 2020

The Minister of Health in Portugal, Marta Temido, announced yesterday that the priority groups to be vaccinated against covid-19 will be known in December, with vaccines said to arrive in January.

How to store vaccines, where they will be taken and who will be the first to be vaccinated are some of the decisions on the table that should be made public “in early December”, revealed the Minister of Health.

For now, “there is a possibility that one of the first vaccines is scheduled to arrive in January,” she said during the press conference to assess the covid-19 pandemic in Portugal.

Marta Temido said that the process is being developed by the European Commission, with the objective of ensuring that “citizens have access to safe and effective vaccines, in equal time for all” and at affordable prices.

Each country has the task of operationalizing the collection and defining the priority groups. In Portugal, the plan will be known soon: “The technical bodies are working with confidence, with tranquility, and will publicly present the planning within a relatively short period, at the beginning of December, at the latest”.

The idea is to achieve a “rapid administration of the vaccine” as soon as it is available: “We are preparing for the vaccine to arrive in January”.

Planning goes from deciding who should be vaccinated, where doses should be stored, who will be the health professionals in charge of this work or how vaccines should be distributed: “Do we put them in health centers or in vaccination centers?”, she commented.

Marta Temido admitted that this is a complex job that requires designing various scenarios, since any vaccines have different characteristics.

“We still have relatively limited information on the indications for each of the potential vaccines that will appear on the market and that is why we are working in an uncertain scenario”, she explained.

“What we want to happen and that the country is prepared to ensure safe storage, distribution and administration”, he reinforced.

The minister explained that the country “must be prepared” to make a safe distribution with regard to guaranteeing the transport circuits, having professionals allocated for the administration of vaccines, having the computer records as well as ensuring that we monitor “adverse reactions that eventually appear”.

As for the vaccine that should be chosen, Marta Temido recalled that this is a decision that has not yet been made and that depends on several factors, from the conditions of safety, effectiveness and timing as well as the transparency associated with the process.

Portugal registered 5,891 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus and 79 deaths associated with the covid-19 disease in the last 24 hours, according to the bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) released yesterday.

According to the bulletin, 54 percent of the new cases are located in the North, which accounted for 3,191 more infections in the last 24 hours, followed by Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, with 1,637 new cases.

Original article available in Portuguese at http://postal.pt/