The Directorate-General for Health (DGS) have announced that it plans to combine the flu vaccination, which is already underway, and the administration of the third dose of the vaccine against Covid-19, to simplify the two processes.
"It would be great for people, because it is much more comfortable to go and get vaccinated once with two inoculations and it is also much easier for our nurses, for our logistics and for our services", explained the director general of the Health, at a press conference.
The idea is that people who are now called in to boost their Covid-19 vaccination and who are also eligible to receive the flu vaccine can be inoculated with both, at the same time.
People started being called for their third (booster) dose of Covid vaccine on Friday, by SMS and, if necessary will by called via telephone.
However, explained Graça Freitas, the decision to actually begin this 'merged' vaccination process depends on the publication of a standard of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the so-called co-administration.
"If this 'publication of a standard' does not happen by the beginning of next week (week commencing Oct 11th), when the 'merge vaccines' process is expected to start, the DGS will proceed with the alternative plan, which means an interval of 14 days between the administration of the two vaccines. Going one way or going the other means using different logistics”, said Graça Freitas.
As for the flu vaccination alone, which began on September 27th, with a first phase for "residents, staff and professionals of social responses and of the continuous care network, health professionals and pregnant women," Graça Freitas said that about 130 ,000 flu vaccines have already been administered, 63,000 of which are those over 80 years of age.
In the second phase, people aged 65 years and over, and other patients, will be included. The process will take place in a “mixed scheme”, that is, both in health centres and in dedicated vaccination centres, set up for this purpose.
The choice between both will result from “the characteristics of the population, the population density, the size of the ACES (Grouping of Health Centres), the characteristics of the professionals”, explained Graça Freitas.
"The health centres themselves, in close proximity and because they know these patients well, have mechanisms to reach them and summon and invite them to come for vaccination", added the general director calling for the elderly to "come to winter with their protection, either against covid-19 or against the flu, as far as science and your immune system allows us”.