Porto deployed a vaccination plan and all is in place but the supply of vaccines

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The Queimódromo is set as the first vaccination centre in Porto, with the capacity to administrate circa two thousand vaccines per day. The former bus parking facility of the STCP, located in São Roque, is also another option, and the Gardens of Palácio de Cristal is under consideration for a walk-thru. “As long as vaccines are in place, the city of Porto is ready to boost vaccination”, stated Mayor Rui Moreira, yesterday morning, during a press conference at the site of the Queimódromo, adding that these three sites combined will have the capacity to vaccinate the entire population of Porto in two months’ time.

Be prepared: the model has been set and is articulated wilt all the partner entities. At the Queimódromo, the Municipality of Porto relies on the support of Unilabs Portugal for the Covid-19 vaccination, in a drive-thru format, similar to the pioneering model that was implemented last March with the Covid-19 testing, which was even replicated in other areas in the country; this allows people to be vaccinated inside their car, without the need to exit the vehicle. Also, owing to the need to remain in the site for a 30-minute period, drivers will park in a nearby parking area.

That very site, as regards testing, is still working, but now next door to the new vaccination centre, which will be supported by the city hospitals, Hospital de São João and Hospital de Santo António. These hospitals will provide all the know-how and expertise to the lab, so that all human resources are trained in accordance.

This model follows all best international practices, seen in countries like Israel or in cities like New York, as affirmed by Rui Moreira, during the same press conference.

“We are ready. The drive-thru experience brought us tranquillity regarding flows”, stated António Maia Gonçalves, Medical Director at Unilabs Portugal.

“Once again, the Municipality, in a pioneer way, has set up a system before the need arises. I think that this vision, a much needed one, influences results”, highlighted the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hospital de São João, Fernando Araújo.

Paulo Barbosa, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hospital de Santo António, enhanced that “this is a Herculean task”, but this joint combination of efforts will “enable a safe vaccination procedure”.

The press conference was also attended by the CEO of Unilabs Portugal, Luís Menezes, and the councillor for Housing and Social Cohesion, Fernando Paulo.

Vaccine supply wanted

In order for all this to work, “we need the vaccines”, stressed Mayor of Porto, who expressed “much concern” with the absence of this central element in the fight against Covid-19. “If by the end of summer, end of September, we wish to have circa 67% of the population vaccinated, the country will have to have the capacity to administrated around 55 to 60 thousand vaccines per day, and this is not in line with what is being done at present”, added Rui Moreira, who 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”.

The locations have been identified; besides the Queimódromo (already set and ready to work), the bus parking facility of the STCP, in São Roque, and the other at the Gardens of Palácio de Cristal. “With all three centres, we will be able to vaccinate the population in Porto, who are circa 250 million people, vaccinated in less than two months’ time”, assured Rui Moreira.

In addition to the three vaccination centres, 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. Regarding the ACES Ocidental, the Municipality provided the School António Aroso, and as for the ACES Oriental, it supported the assemblage of a tent that will serve as a recovery site.

It should be mentioned that the PSP (Public Security Police) had requested support by the Municipality regarding vaccination procedures to the circa 3.500 police agents of the PSP Porto Metropolitan Command, which was scheduled to start on 15th February. However, as Rui Moreira informed, “yesterday, at 7.31 pm I received a phone call by Madam Commander of the PSP stating that she had received different orders”, and was not in a position to accept the support that they had requested and that the Municipality of Porto so promptly arranged.