The Director-General of Health (DGS), Graça Freitas has admitted that she supports mandatory vaccination against Covid-19, but considers it too early to make a decision.
While conducting her daily press conference, Graça Freitas said that the decision is yet to be made, and that Portuguese legislation allows, that in a epidemic situation, while defending public health, mandatory vaccination can be enforced.”
The Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa announced on Thursday (20/08) the purchase of 6.9 million vaccines against Covid-19, worth 20 million euros, stating that, in Portugal, vaccinations will be “universal and free.”
Asked about the possibility of making vaccination mandatory, the Director-General of Health explained that this decision depends on several factors including the characteristics of the drug and a deep analysis of society. She went on to say that, “if the vaccine is extremely effective and protect the population, it can be considered a mandatory vaccination methodology, however, if the vaccine is not as effective as we hope, the decision may be different. We will have to wait, understand the characteristics of the vaccine, its added value for public health, how it will protect the population, its effectiveness, safety, and quality so that we can then, with maturity, make the appropriate decision.”
In addition to influencing the decision on whether the vaccine is mandatory, the characteristics of the drug may also influence the number of doses required to ensure immunity, and the definition of priority groups.
During the press conference, the president of Infarmed, Rui Santos Ivo, said that the 6.9 million vaccines acquired by Portugal constitute a first batch, and that the acquisition of other vaccines is currently being negotiated by the European Union, in order to ensure a greater variety.
According to Rui Santos Ivo, among the 165 vaccines currently under development, twenty-six are already in the clinical phase, four of which are in the last phase of development and three are at a more advanced stage of negotiation.
This move could definitely cause consternation amongst those who are against mass vaccination.
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