The pace of administering vaccine doses for Covid-19 reached a new maximum, calculated on Saturday, since the country began the vaccination process. The latest data shows that Portugal is administering around 18,206 doses every day.
For the person who is responsible for the vaccination plan for Covid-19, Vice Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo, the fact that the doses arriving in the country are fully used – while maintaining a “safety reserve to guarantee the second dose” – is one of the indicators showing the success of this operation. Speaking to PÚBLICO, the official ensures that the country is able to increase the daily number of people vaccinated, which depends heavily on the rate of arrival of the doses in the country. A few days ago, António Costa said that less than half of the doses originally planned would arrive in Portugal in March.
When asked about recent disruptions in the vaccine supply chain, the Vice Admiral did not hide frustration, but he did guarantee the adaptability of the Health Directorate-General’s task force. “Naturally. In any case, we have to work with the data that we have. There is no point in crying over spilled milk, we have to adapt, ”he added.
According to the figures collected by the PUBLIC on the SNS website, the 7-day moving average of the daily number of doses administered has reached its maximum since the start of the vaccination campaign. After hitting the 15,940 dose mark on January 23, the number of doses administered had dropped to levels similar to those in early January. A value that has been on the uptrend again since February 9th.
By midnight this Sunday, 523,349 doses of this drug had already been administered. Around 3.22% of the Portuguese population have already received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 1.91% have completed the vaccination process.
Although the seven-day moving average only hit an all-time high of 18,206 doses per day that Saturday, the daily maximum of administered doses was reached on Friday. 37,052 doses were administered between midnight on Friday and midnight on Saturday. This number has never been so high since the Portuguese government began providing daily data on administered doses.
If we look at the goal of getting 70% of the adult population vaccinated by the end of summer – in fact, 13,657,142 doses are required, considering that all vaccines require two doses – and subtracting from that number the doses already given, Portugal me would have to administer 59,699 doses per day to meet this target by September 22, 2021. A number that seems a long way from the now registered 18,206, but is a very reasonable number for Vice Admiral Gouveia e Melo. given the options the country can take to achieve this goal.
“We will use health centers with a vaccination capacity. There are more than 900 in the country and they manage to deliver more than 50,000 vaccines a day. Once this is overcome, we can also extend health center vaccination schedules, including weekends. With the same structure, we’ve grown to around 80,000 vaccines per day. If this capacity is running out, we can ask the large hospitals in urban centers to also carry out the vaccination process on weekends, which increases to around 100,000 per day. Then we have fast vaccination stations at the weekend – they can drive through or be of the “Colosseum” type. With that increase, we’ve grown to 120,000 people a day. If necessary, we then add pharmacies [ao processo]. There are more than four thousand pharmacies: even if there are only a thousand pharmacies that vaccinate ten people a day, there are already ten thousand people, ”explains Gouveia e Melo.
Note: The Portuguese government has only started publishing daily data on administered doses since January 27th. For the other days, PUBLIC divided the dose difference by the number of days between the time interval that no data were published. That is, if there is a difference of 1000 doses between two days, it is assumed that 500 doses were given each day.