The Minister of Health, Marta Temido, said this Monday that only with technical recommendation will the pneumonia vaccine be introduced in the National Vaccination Program (PNV), which pulmonologists believe should be free for the elderly.
The minister visited today the Casa do Artista, in Lisbon, where she marked the start of this year’s flu vaccination campaign, anticipated as a preventive measure against covid-19, seeking to prevent the elderly and other risk groups from contracting both infections. .
Asked about the position of pulmonologists, reported today, who argue that in addition to the flu vaccine, the pneumonia vaccine should also be free for the elderly, the minister replied that this will happen if there is a technical recommendation for the effect, but warned that this type of decision has its own time.
“Many times, and I have been alerted to this many times recently, we need to give time to the technical decision to have a better technical decision. We in our lives are often in a hurry and we wish that things could be decided with greater speed, but there is a time for a good technical decision and we cannot pressure it. This means that as soon as there is a technical indication for this introduction, that introduction will be made “. said.
Today, at the press conference on the state of play of covid-19 in Portugal, the director general of Health, Graça Freitas, said that this vaccine “exists in the pharmacy market and exists in the national vaccination program, only in the program national vaccination program is administered free of charge to all persons who belong to special risk groups for contracting a pneumococcal disease, namely pneumonia or other invasive disease “.
With regard to other people who are not included in the PNV, this vaccine “must be made once in a lifetime after the age of 65, by prescription and, therefore, will be purchased in pharmacies”.
During the visit to Casa do Artista, the minister also referred to outbreaks of covid-19 in hospital units, referring that the Government has knowledge of several in the country with contaminated health professionals, stressing the application of contingency plans and referring that the cancellation visits, even though it is always an open option, will be the “last solution” to be adopted, since this cancellation “is quite painful for those who are isolated”, either in hospital units or in nursing homes.
The minister followed, outside the room and at the required distance, the start of vaccination at Casa do Artista, which has a very elderly resident population, with several hundred years among users, and where infections have not yet been registered, neither among professionals , nor between users.
The first phase of vaccination is aimed at residents of nursing homes, professionals who work there, health professionals and pregnant women.
A second phase follows, starting on October 19th, generalized to all risk groups, particularly those over 65, and during which vaccination points will be extended to community pharmacies and parish councils, for example, “to facilitate the use of vaccines”.
In community pharmacies will also be available part of the contingent of flu vaccines from the National Health Service (SNS), said the minister.
“Our goal is to ensure the highest possible adherence, we always try to achieve high adherence to vaccination against seasonal flu, this year in view of this confluence of risk factors, the objective is still reinforced”, he said.
Portugal accounts for at least 1,957 deaths associated with covid-19 in 74,029 confirmed cases of infection, according to the latest bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).