The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) sees Portugal’s authorities as having done a “very good job” in vaccinating the population against Covid-19, with the country currently among European Union member states with the highest levels of coverage.
“Portugal is doing a very good job in terms of vaccination and is among the European countries with the highest vaccination coverage of the population,” said the director of the ECDC’s surveillance department, Bruno Ciancio, in an interview with Lusa.
At a time when more than 7.5 million residents of Portugal have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, Ciancio noted out that, despite the recent “quite significant increase” in the number of infections over the summer, “mortality has remained stable”.
In line with the trend seen across the EU in recent months, Portugal has also recorded “a slight increase in hospitalisations and intensive care admissions because there are still parts of the population that are not fully vaccinated,” Ciancio said, adding that “compared to other countries, I would say that their vulnerability is lower.
“I think that is what we need to achieve in all European countries,” he said, alluding to the marked differences in vaccination coverage between EU member states.
Highlighting the relationship between vaccination and the reduction of incidence of the more serious forms of Covid-19, Ciancio stated that “the countries that most concern [the ECDC] in terms of absolute impact are also countries where vaccination coverage is not so high … for various reasons” – such as “Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Greece, Lithuania.
Even so, he said, across the EU the number of infections has been rising in recent months, a trend that the ECDC specialist attributes to “people’s different behaviour” in situations such as when undertaking tourism as well as the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, but thanks to vaccination, this has not been reflected in high numbers of hospitalisations and deaths.
Currently, more than 250 million people in the EU are already received fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with about 70% of the adult population covered.
The ECDC’s online tool to track vaccination in the EU, which is based on country notifications (and therefore may not be fully up to date) shows that coverage is lowest in Bulgaria (with 20% of its population fully vaccinated), Romania (32%) and Latvia (47%), while the highest is in Ireland (87%), Denmark (84%) and Portugal (83%).
In Portugal, the Directorate-General of Health (DGS) reported on Wednesday that more than 7.5 million people in Portugal are already fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and about 8.6 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
According to the DGS weekly report on vaccination, since the process began on 27 December last year 73% of the population has already completed their scheme of vaccination against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and 83% have already received at least one dose.
The DGS data also show that 99% of people aged 65 or over – more than 2.3 million – are fully vaccinated, as well as 96% of people aged between 50 and 64 (a total of 2,079,384 people).
Since the start of vaccination, the country has received 17,488,090 doses of vaccine against Covid-19, with 15,136,630 of these already distributed to vaccination centres in mainland Portugal and the autonomous regions.
The ECDC, which is based in Sweden, has the mission of helping EU member states respond to disease outbreaks.