Portugal aims to boost vaccinations against Covid

Lisbon, March 28 (IANS) Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Saturday his government will step up efforts on vaccine rollout in April and administer as soon as possible the 1.8 million doses it will receive next month.

Portugal on Saturday started vaccinations of some 78,700 teachers and workers from pre-schools and schools of the first four years of the nine-year basic education, Xinhua news agency reported.

Costa told reporters that the vaccination of education professionals is being used as an “important exercise to test rapid vaccination posts” across the country.

“The vaccination process will be complemented with about 150 posts for rapid application” to speed up immunization, he said.

Costa said that “there is no longer any doubt that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe for all ages,” and that doubts of scientific nature “have been clarified by the European Medicines Agency.”

“The biggest problem is in the number of vaccines that are produced. We are all making an effort, on a European scale, to increase this production capacity and, therefore, we maintain the goals,” he said.

Portugal recorded eight more deaths and 344 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, which raised the total fatalities and the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases to 16,827 and 820,042, respectively, since the start of the pandemic.

According to the Directorate-General for Health, Portugal currently has 1,536,184 people vaccinated against Covid-19 — 1,068,361 with a first dose and 467,823 with both jabs.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in an increasing number of countries with already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 267 candidate vaccines are still being developed globally — 83 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the US, according to information released by the World Health Organization on March 23.

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