Portugal receives first batch of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
Portugal received on Sunday the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine from the AstraZeneca/Oxford consortium -- to the tune of 43,200 doses, the task force of the Portuguese immunization program against COVID-19 told Lusa news agency.
This is the third kind of COVID-19 vaccine arriving in Portugal, which had received 387,270 doses from BioNTech/Pfizer and 19,200 doses from Moderna.
According to information from the Portuguese government, two more vaccine deliveries from Moderna and three from Pfizer are scheduled for February, in addition to the second batch from AstraZeneca.
On Jan. 29, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the use of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine in adults aged 18 and over, without upper age limit. But health authorities in some European states -- Belgium, Finland and Sweden, for instance -- didn't recommend its use among seniors.
Portuguese health authorities expect to receive a total of 3.2 million doses of vaccines in the first half of 2021. The country's vaccination plan started on Dec. 27, giving priority to health professionals, the elderly and people over 50 with chronic diseases.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in many European countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.
Meanwhile, 238 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 63 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Feb. 2.