Porto built a large-scale vaccination programme, but it needs vaccines in place

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Porto City Hall has built a robust program for the administration of vaccines in the city, with a capacity to inoculate circa 2000 people per day; the drive-thru vaccination centre, set up in the Queimódromo, is ready to go since February. The Municipality of Porto has been in constant communication with the two ACES [Health Centre Groups) in the city and articulated the availability of vaccination sites. In line with the request by the National Vaccination Task Force to increase capacity, the Municipality of Porto provided the School António Aroso to the ACES Ocidental, and a tent that will serve as a recovery site for the ACES Oriental.

Besides this vaccination centre, the former bus parking facility of the STCP, located in São Roque, is also another option, and the Gardens of Palácio de Cristal are under consideration for a walk-thru. These three sites combined will have the capacity to vaccinate the entire population of Porto in two months’ time.

The Memorandum of Understanding established with the São João Hospital to install a drive-thru vaccination site at the Queimódromo was unanimously approved during the Executive Session, held on 5th April. During that session Rui Moreira informed the Executive of his meeting with Carlos Nunes, the director council of the North Regional Health Administration (ARS Norte), and with the State Secretary Eduardo Pinheiro, appointed by the Government to coordinate the plan to fight Covid-19 in the Northern Region.

During the meeting with Carlos Nunes, the Mayor indicated what measures the city of Porto prepared regarding the large-scale vaccination plan, as both the Task Force and the Government want to speed up during the coming months, in order to have two thirds of the Portuguese population vaccinated by the end of summer, as long as there are vaccines in place.

As for the Municipality of Porto, this effort includes the financing of the operation of the centre, namely “ensuring logistics, operation, flow organisation, vaccination personnel, on site medical support and a minimum of 12 vaccination lines, which will enable to provide up to 2000 inoculations per day”, as stated in the Memorandum of Understanding with the São João Hospital Centre.

During the meeting, Mayor Rui Moreira clarified that the structure was created to ensure that the city of Porto would be able to provide a suitable answer as regards the large demand when a large number of vaccines arrive in the city. This structure will, therefore, “work at no cost to the SNS”, with the support from UNILABS.

Rui Moreira also pinpointed that the hospitals and the health centres do not have the capacity to meet this task to the full, even because “they are much needed to treat the ill”, and other equipment has to be used, besides hospitals and health centres. Moreover, the Mayor of Porto informed that the kick-starting of the drive-thru vaccination centre at the Queimódromo only needs the authorization by the Task Force coordinator, the provision of vaccines, and the indication of which people to vaccinate. There is also the possibility of people scheduling, on one’s own iniative, their vaccination, as stated by Mayor Rui Moreira.