Elderly people who took the flu vaccine for more than 14 days will start receiving the third dose of the vaccine against covid-19 from Monday, the 11th, the director general of Health told Lusa.
“We are waiting for guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) so that we can, if possible, administer [the booster] vaccine against covid-19 and the flu vaccine on the same day, in different places in the body , but in the same vaccination session”, said the general director of Health, Graça Freitas, to Lusa.
The director-general pointed out that, while this recommendation is not known, the "vaccination will be started next Monday, vaccinating people who have had the flu vaccine for 14 days and who already have the interval to be able to have it the reinforcement of vaccination against covid-19”.
Noting that the vaccination process in Portugal was a "success" - with the country currently reaching the target of 85% of the vaccinated population - Graça Freitas emphasizes that this is not over yet, it is necessary to continue vaccinating those who have not done so and also to boost the immunity of groups that were identified as eligible for a third dose or booster dose of the vaccine, namely immunocompromised and people over 65 years of age.
"We have to somehow strengthen the immunity of those who need a new stimulus to be more protected because protection is decreasing over time and we are doing it in two groups", said Graça Freitas.
The first of those groups covers the immunocompromised, whose reinforcement of the covid-19 vaccine has already been started, and the second group includes people over 65 years old, with "priority being given to people aged 80 years or more and to people who they reside in homes and similar structures”, with the third dose or booster dose starting on Monday.
If, in the meantime, WHO guidance for a co-administration of influenza and covid-19 vaccines arrives in the same vaccination session, the Director-General of Health states that the logistical and planning capacity is "prepared" to comply with such a measure that, if possible, “it gives more comfort to people, who avoid having to travel” and facilitates the management of the process at the level of services.
Graça Freitas also recalled that, alongside this reinforcement of doses for eligible groups, the process of vaccination against covid-19 is still continuing, as it is necessary to complete the vaccination of some and vaccinate those who have not yet received any dose, such as young people who meanwhile reach the age of 12 or people who come from abroad in these conditions.
Speaking to Lusa, Graça Freitas said that Portugal today reached the goal of having 85% of the population with complete vaccination against covid-19, considering that this is reason and “pride”.
The Ministry of Health also issued a statement today indicating that goal, specifying that Portugal has become the first country in the world to have 85% of the population vaccinated.
In this process, around 15,3 million vaccines were administered in mainland Portugal, enabling around 8,4 million people to now have the complete vaccination schedule, said the statement from Minister Marta Temido's office.