State spends 20 million on the first batch of vaccines against Covid-19

  • ECO News
  • 20 August 2020

The Council of Ministers, through an electronic meeting, authorised the investment of 20 million euros in the purchase of the first batch of vaccines.

The prime minister announced this Thursday that the government has authorized a 20 million euros investment in contracts to purchase vaccines against Covid-19. The vaccination will be “progressive, universal and free” for the Portuguese population to ensure this immunization, guaranteed António Costa at an event in Gaia.

“The Council of Ministers approved today, electronically, the authorization for the 20 million euros investment in contracts to be concluded for the purchase of vaccines against Covid-19,” reads the communiqué released this Thursday after the Council of Ministers. The government clarified that this amount “corresponds to the first phase of the acquisition procedures, to be carried out in 2020, ensuring the acquisition of 6.9 million doses,” as Infarmed had anticipated this Wednesday.

It is not clear from the Council of Ministers’ communiqué and from António Costa’s statements whether these 20 million euros are related to the first batch of 690,000 or to the total of 6.9 million doses of a potential vaccine against Covid-19.

In any case, Portugal guarantees its participation in the centralised European procedure being conducted by the European Commission. Just this Thursday, the EU executive announced another agreement to purchase vaccines from a German pharmacist.

These 6.9 million doses of vaccines – which cover about two-thirds of the Portuguese population – correspond, according to the TSF, to Portugal’s share of the 300 million vaccine batch agreed between the Commission and the French laboratory Sanofi-GSK. The EU also has an agreement with AstraZeneca for a further 300 million doses and with Johnson & Johnson for another 400 million doses.

The purchase of the vaccines will be financed by the Emergency Support Instrument that the European Commission set up during the pandemic, and prices are not yet known. In the communiqués, the EU only said the vaccines would be for the 27 member states and for donations to countries with lower incomes.

At the Gaia event on the hospital’s new intensive care unit, which is expected to be ready in November, the prime minister anticipated, in statements transmitted by RTP3, that it will be up to the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) to define the criteria for vaccination, defining the national strategy and the corresponding target populations at an early stage.