Sat, 25 Sep 2021

Portugal leads COVID-19 vaccination race

16 Sep 2021, 02:05 GMT+10

LISBON, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -The share of people fully inoculated against COVID-19 has reached 81.54 percent in Portugal, making it one of the world's most vaccinated nations, the University of Oxford-based research hub Our World in Data reported on Wednesday.

Trailing Portugal were Malta (80.95 percent) and the United Arab Emirates (78.80 percent).

In Portugal, the share of people only partly vaccinated against COVID-19 was only 5.40 percent.

The task force of the Portuguese Directorate-General for Health (DGS), which coordinates the logistics of vaccination in the country, estimated that 85 percent of the Portuguese population will be fully vaccinated by the last week of September.

The task force's coordinator, Vice Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo, said that Portugal is reaching "the limit of the target audience to be vaccinated," which does not include "children up to 12 years old," who represent 12 percent of the population, and the estimated three to four percent who "refuse the vaccine."

On Wednesday, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa highlighted his country's high vaccination rate and said that "thanks to vaccination, we can claim that the COVID-19 pandemic is under control."

Speaking at a school in Lisbon at the beginning of the new school year, Costa said that Portugal was "at a turning point," and that it would be essential to maintain health and safety measures to" prevent the pandemic from getting out of control."

Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, 17,872 deaths and 1,057,100 COVID-19 infection cases have been confirmed by Portugal's health authorities.

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