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The General Directorate of Health guarantees that the health authorities in Portugal have not yet decided on the closing days of the Vaccination Centers during the festive season of Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
In a message sent to the Observer, less than 48 hours from December 23, the DGS only mentions that “the closing days of the Vaccination Centers during the festive season are still up for decision” and that these “will be communicated in due course”.
The guarantee comes after the president of the National Association of Family Health Units, Diogo Urjais, told Rádio Observador that “the Vaccination Centers against Covid-19 are expected to close from December 23 to 26”, although “ some” plan to “keep the activity on the 23rd”.
Through social networks, however, the Cascais City Council has also already officially communicate that “the Vaccination Centers of Estoril and S. Domingos de Rana will be closed from the 23rd to the 26th of December”. The municipality also refers that the closure is due to “indications from the health authorities”.
This Tuesday, the newspaper Inevitável reported that “there are vaccination centers closing eight and nine days at Christmas and New Year” and that the pace of vaccination against Covid-19 will “slow down until the end of the year”. Examples were also given of vaccination centers that will be closed between this Thursday, the 23rd, and Sunday, the 26th (inclusive), and which will be closed for “four days” in the “next week”: the vaccination centers in Cascais and Monte Abraão.
In the latest “daily vaccination report” released by the DGS this Monday, the Portuguese health authorities stated that more than 8.6 million people have full vaccination in the country (more specifically, 8 651 327).
So far, 2.3 million booster doses (2 325 024) have been administered. Two weeks ago, around 90% of the eligible population had already received the booster dose in Portugal.
This population eligible to receive an additional dose of vaccines against Covid-19 represents about 13% of the total Portuguese population. A considerably lower percentage than countries like France and United Kingdom ,who, with a distinct vaccination strategy, decided to expand and extend the population eligible to receive the booster dose.
To Rádio Observador, Rui Nogueira, a doctor at the Norton de Matos Health Center in Coimbra, reported that the information given by the health authorities to the Coimbra vaccination center is that the center will be closed “in the coming festive days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday”, that is, for at least three days. And “then the correspondent at the end of the year: Friday, Saturday and Sunday”, another three.
In view of this public health emergency that we are going through, the fact that we have a very high vaccination rate cannot be underestimated. The truth is that we have not yet vaccinated priority risk groups with the third dose. And so, in my view, given the emergency we are experiencing and the month of January that we are going to have — very complicated —, I think we should bet more on vaccination“he stated.
The clinician also said that he disagrees with the strategy of “slowing down vaccination” at this stage of the year, “even taking into account what Christmas is and the rest of the passage”. And he left a criticism: “We are vaccinating very slowly. In the summer we vaccinated around 120 thousand people a day, now we are vaccinating 60 thousand and even less. We are less than half of what we have already done”.
Although in the summer there was “urgency to vaccinate”, now there is also the administration of the booster dose, considers the doctor. “We have to find availability and time and help people to get the third dose vaccine, because it is in fact the only measure we have so far that is working reasonably,” he added.
Note – Article updated at 12:02 pm
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Vaccination centers close on the festive season, advances president of the USF. DGS does not confirm