The process of vaccination against covid-19 for children between five and 11 years old begins this Tuesday in Madeira, with regional health authorities prioritizing those with associated pathologies.
The vaccination, explained the regional secretary of Health and Civil Protection, Pedro Ramos, will take place in open house mode, and only the parents of children with comorbidities will be contacted by health services and will be given an appointment.
Since the number of children in this situation is small, Pedro Ramos expects the vaccination of this entire age group, a universe of 14,715 children, to continue at a good pace until the end of the year. The idea, explained a source of the regional secretariat to PÚBLICO, is to accelerate the vaccination, taking advantage of the greater availability resulting from the Christmas vacation.
Madeira, which had already been the first region of the country to vaccinate adolescents aged 12 to 17 against covid-19, opens the doors of the Funchal vaccination center at 2 p.m. for children. Pedro Ramos ensures the pediatric follow-up of the families. In addition to strengthening the vaccination hotline (SRS Vacinas 800 210 263), the regional health authorities will make available a child helpline (969 319 732) in charge of the hospital’s pediatric team center of the island, Dr. Nélio Mendonça.
The process that begins in Funchal will be extended in the coming days to all 11 municipalities of the archipelago, in a logistics operation that will create dedicated and differentiated spaces for children in vaccination centers. “In Funchal, an animation monitor will be installed for the children and there will be a specialized animation team”, adds the same source, explaining that these moments will take place in the pre-vaccination and post-vaccination waiting areas. .
With Madeira having a total vaccination rate of 85% and 87% with the first dose, regional health officials want this new phase of the process to take place naturally and are preparing actions to raise awareness among parents of the importance of vaccination . The process, guarantees Pedro Ramos, will not affect the booster vaccination, which will continue to be administered in all regional centres.
In November, Madeira expressed its intention to carry out the vaccination from the age of five, as soon as there is a positive opinion from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and indicated to start the process from of December 20, the expected date for the arrival of Pfizer-BioNtech pediatric vaccines in Portugal. This arrival was anticipated and, on Sunday, the archipelago received the first 12,000 vaccines. This number is more than enough for the first doses – the second inoculation will be carried out with an interval of 21 days – even because, according to Pedro Ramos, 6.5% of children in this age group have already contracted the disease, and therefore, to wait longer before being able to be vaccinated.
“It will be good to reduce the number of cases and prevent the contagion of the elderly,” argued the regional secretary, adding that the vaccination process will also have a positive impact on the daily lives of schools. A positive case in the classroom, he explains, no longer means the isolation of everyone at home.
Pfizer-BioNtech’s pediatric vaccine, which will be administered in Madeira and the rest of the country, has a lower dosage than that used for people over 12 years old. The amount of active substance (messenger RNA) is ten micrograms, while for adults it is 30 micrograms.
The latest covid-19 figures in the archipelago show a total of 14,976 contaminations since the start of the pandemic, of which 881 are still active. To date, regional health authorities have recorded 119 deaths associated with covid-19.