Algarve is vaccinating at a «comparable pace» to other regions

Differences in age structure and type of population explain the percentages

"We are vaccinating [against Covid-19] at a rate comparable to most other regions," he said today, speaking to Sul Informação, the president of the Regional Health Administration (ARS) of the Algarve.

Asked by our newspaper about the percentages of vaccinees revealed on Tuesday by the General Directorate of Health (DGS), in your weekly vaccination report, which place the Algarve below Alentejo, Centro or Madeira, Paulo Morgado explained that «the population is not identical in all regions».

In fact, he admitted, "if people look at the figures that the DGS releases, without any other explanation, they may get a distorted view" of what is going on.

«We are still in the first phase of vaccination», during which «health professionals, residents in ERPI or nursing homes, the National Network of Integrated Continuous Care, people over 80 years old and also those who are between 50 and 79 years old, but they have comorbidities, that is, other associated diseases».

Well, explained the president of ARS Algarve in his statements to Sul Informação, «the Alentejo, for example, is very different in terms of the characteristics of its population», since it has «more health professionals than the Algarve, more hospitals, more health centers, more elderly population, more institutionalized population in terms of of ERPI'. In other words, he added, «the target population, in relation to the total population of the region, in this first phase, is greater» in the Alentejo than in the neighboring Algarve.

This explains why, according to the DGS report, whose percentages refer to the total population, in the Algarve there are 8% of people inoculated with the 1st dose, while in the Alentejo region the figure is already at 14%.

In terms of population, Paulo Morgado said, "we are more comparable with the large urban areas of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, than with Alentejo, which has a very different age structure from ours." At this stage, "we are not vaccinating the entire population, but doing it in a targeted way, for specific groups." And that's what explains the difference.

“There is no discrimination here [from Task Force which coordinates vaccination at national level] in relation to the Algarve, even we would not allow such a thing», he asserted.

«Each one is doing their job and well done! We are not keeping vaccines, which are too valuable an asset to be able to afford to waste».

Making a review of the situation of the vaccination process in the Algarve, the president of the ARS revealed that, «in several councils we have already finished the group of more than 80 years», namely in the less populated municipalities.

As for the NHS health professionals, they are «practically all vaccinated». “In the private sector, we are vaccinating, but not all of them are available yet”, as the process here was delayed a few days, due to the temporary suspension of the vaccine from AstraZeneca, last week.