How’s Portugal’s Vaccination Going? Not Bad! Really!

We may be wrong, but the fact that the J&J vaccine has been suspended indefinitely probably doesn’t bode well for Portugal’s planned vaccination schedule.

The short of it is: thing are constantly changing, blood clots are forming, and vaccine makers are delaying their schedules. Portugal, much like the rest of the European Union, is just trying to roll with the punches — and it’s doing pretty damn well. But not great. But not bad.

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Portugal had administered 1.4 million vaccines as of March 24, according to figures released the following day by Direcção-Geral de Saúde (DGS – Directorate-General of Health). The latest from DGS is that 2.27 million vaccines have been administered as of April 15.

Source: Direcção-Geral de Saúde

According to Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS), however, that only includes continental Portugal. The Government of Azores, meanwhile, reports that it has administered around 66,600 doses across the archipelago as of April 15. And the latest available numbers from the Autonomous Region of Madeira are from Apr. 11, by which point a little over 60,000 vaccines had been administered on the island. 

So that’s around 2.4 million vaccines for all of Portugal, according to the latest available figures. Which is around 1 million more than we had 22 days ago — making our vaccination rate less than 50,000 per day across all of Portugal since March 24.

Which, when not counting March, is not too far below the 60,000 per day that we were promised for April by Vice Admiral Gouveia e Melo, the head of the vaccination task force, on March 27. But it is below that.

But we’re sort of on target. And, hey, 17% of the Portuguese population has already received at least one dose, according to Expresso.  


Gouveia e Melo said on March 31 that by April 11, Portugal will have vaccinated 100% of those 80 or older and those 50 to 80 years old with health risks.  

As of April 15, we’ve vaccinated 51% of those 80 and over — and 10% still haven’t received a single dose, according to Expresso.  

Expresso does add that we’ve reached a vaccination rate of 60,000 per day.

Will we be able to hit 100,000 vaccinations per day in May and June, as the vice admiral said we would three weeks ago? It’s unclear. According to SIC Notícias, we’re going to have a “major vaccination operation” this weekend, with close to 190,000 people to be vaccinated on Saturday and Sunday.

More good news: after the world freaked out about the AstraZeneca vaccine, which caused blood clots in extremely rare cases (in Portugal, the adverse effect rate is 0.14%), the European Union worked out a faster schedule to receive 50 million of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. Portugal, which has already administered more than 1.4 million of this version, was scheduled to get its share of 1.15 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 — but now they may come sooner, a source at Infarmed (the National Authority for Medicines and Health Products) tells ECO. Which is pretty good news indeed!

Related: Covid Vaccines in Portugal: Adverse Reaction Rates and Updates

But then we have the J&J issue. Portugal was to receive 1.25 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines by June. On April 14, we received the first shipment, of a total of 31,200 doses, according to Público

The problem, though, is that the day before, J&J said it would delay the delivery of its vaccines in Europe indefinitely, after reports emerged that six women developed blood clot issues after getting this variety. And according to Público, Portugal was set to get 4.5 million doses of the J&J vaccine by the end of the year (which, since it only requires one dose, would fully vaccinate around 44% of Portugal’s population of 10.3 million).  

It’s unclear what J&J’s halt means for Portugal’s vaccination schedule. We’ll keep doing the math so you don’t have to.

Related: When Will I Get Vaccinated? Best Case — End of Summer, Unless You’re Priority

For now, you can rejoice, or despair, that Portugal is moving at about the same rate as the rest of Europe, according to Our World in Data. As far as what percentage of the population we’ve vaccinated, we’re a bit behind France, Spain, and, now, Germany (we were ahead three weeks ago!) But we’re slightly ahead of Italy.

But we’re also far, far behind Israel, the U.K., the U.S. and other countries.

Now go read all the things you’ll be allowed to do as of April 19: Portugal OKs Easing Restrictions: What Happens April 5 and Beyond

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