“In the autumn, the optimal conditions for the propagation of respiratory viruses return. If we do not complete the vaccination plan and or do not bring the incidence down a lot by then, we will hardly have a favourable evolution in the coming months”, the researcher from the Instituto de Medicina Molecular tells Lusa.
If Portugal leads the percentage of people who have received at least one dose of vaccine against covid-19 among the countries of the European Union (82.05%), today's data from the statistical site Our World on Data also places the country in the top places – sixth among 27 – in the daily average of cases in the last seven days per million inhabitants (228,34).
Above Portugal in this indicator are only Ireland, which leads with 374.4, Cyprus (350.71), Greece (313.74), France (309.42) and Estonia (230.14).
The most recent national data indicate that Portugal already has 72% of the population with full vaccination and 80% with at least one dose of vaccine against covid-19, but also has an incidence rate of infections in the last 14 days of 312, 8 at national level.
“Vaccination is not a guarantee in itself against covid-19. It is an important weapon, but as long as the virus circulates with some abundance, as is the case today, we are not really in a situation that we can consider positive”, warns Miguel Castanho.
According to the researcher at the Institute of Molecular Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon, there is still about 30% of the population over 16 years old without full vaccination, to which is added a high percentage of children and young people who are in the same situation.
“In total we will have about 40% to 50% of the total population without vaccination or without full vaccination. These 40% to 50% are a very considerable population fraction, capable of prolonging the multiplication of the virus, especially in the current context, in which the virus is very abundant and, therefore, many people come into contact with the virus”, highlighted the biochemist.
As one of the causes for the maintenance of the high incidence of cases, Miguel Castanho points out the Delta variant, responsible for 100% of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the country, according to the latest data from the National Institute of Health Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA) .
This variant "has made the situation much worse, because it is known that one dose of vaccines provides very low protection and that, even in fully vaccinated people, there is a 13% drop in vaccine efficacy compared to the UK variant", said the specialist.