The National Institute of Medical Emergencies (INEM) of Portugal is involved in a scandal after it was discovered that the Northern delegation vaccinated employees of a bakery near its facilities, supposedly because “there were excess doses and they did not want to waste them”.
The Ministry of Health ordered an inspection of what happened, after the National Emergency and Civil Protection Association denounced that the INEM had vaccinated people who were not part of the group of priority professionals, the only ones who had the right in this first phase.
After the controversy broke out, the head of the Northern delegation, the doctor António Barbosa, was removed from the position, according to the INEM board of directors in a statement released late on Saturday, January 30.
Earlier, Barbosa had explained at a press conference that he made the decision to “Vaccinate pastry workers so that excess doses are not wasted and that were already prepared”, so they could not be saved.
The doctor was informed on January 8, the last day of vaccination, that all priority professionals who wanted to be vaccinated had already received their dose and that there were another 11 left over, which were already prepared in syringes.
Together with the team that coordinated the vaccination, they decided to go to a nearby bakery and ask if anyone wanted to be vaccinated.
“It was circumstantial. For reasons of proximity and security, since being next door facilitated the monitoring of possible side effects ”, justified Barbosa, who denies that it is a case of favoring.
The eleven people outside the INEM also received the second dose of the vaccine, three weeks later.
This is not the first controversy that affects the vaccination process in Portugal, where the Ministry of Labor has opened an investigation into 126 officials of the Social Security of Setúbal (south of Lisbon) who have been vaccinated after being included in a list of workers in residences and intensive care.
After knowing the news, the director of the Social Security of Setúbal resigned.
Portugal included in a first phase of vaccination the health professionals on the front line and to users and workers of residences and continuing care centers.
As of Monday, February 1, the following priority groups will begin to be vaccinated, among which are those over 80 years old, those over 50 with risky pathologies, essential services -such as firefighters and security forces- and the holders of organs of sovereignty.
According to the balance of the first month of the vaccination plan, released last Thursday, 74,000 people – out of a population of more than 10 million – were immunized, while others 183,500 had received the first dose.
With information from EFE
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