July 26, 2021

Vaccination lines do not frighten Portuguese. Users ask for “patience” and wait “as long as it takes” – ECO

At the University Stadium, the waiting time to complete the vaccination was two hours. However, users praise the organization and guarantee to wait “as long as it takes” for the vaccine.

Portugal entered “cruise speed” in vaccination and the goal is clear: administer 850,000 doses per week over the next two weeks. The acceleration of the pace is generating longer lines at some vaccination centers across the country. At the Estádio Universitário, in Lisbon, the queues did not frighten users, who ask for “patience” and guarantee to wait “as long as it takes” to be vaccinated.

At 10 am this Tuesday, the queue outside pavilion 3 at the Estádio Universitário, in Lisbon, was already making itself felt, but if at an early stage it could scare the most impatient, the truth is that it was moving at a good pace. ““With so many people this is moving fast. we cannot complainr”, tells Celeste, to ECO, arm in arm with her husband and a few meters from going through the pre-screening to receive the second dose of the vaccine.

Hugo Amaral / ECO

This pavilion reopened about two weeks ago and is now operating as an “Open House” for those over 45 years old, which allows this age group to receive the vaccine without prior appointment, as well as for users over 60 years old who were vaccinated with the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine by May 16 and have not yet received the second dose.

There are also about 15 minutes waiting, for the pre-screening, are Mário and Cristine Zampol. Despite having only moved their suitcases and luggage to Lisbon five months ago, the Brazilian couple welcomes the acceleration of the pace of vaccination, as “the more people immunized, the less consequences will arise“, as well as the fact that the health authorities have shortened the administration interval of the Anglo-Swedish manufacturer’s vaccine. “In Brazil, in the case of Astra they are stretching time instead of shortening like Portugal, I think it’s better that way”, highlights Cristine.

Although the balance is generally positive, Mário Zampol points out that “these queues” could be avoided if, for example, users who were anticipated the second dose of AstraZeneca had been summoned via SMS. “If I got paid on the first, why won’t I get paid on the second? At that point, I think a better organization could have been made to avoid these queues. But on the other hand, we realized that it is an anticipation, it is something that was out of the initial planning“, says Mário Zampol, who has lived for 16 years in Shanghai, China.

Vaccination Center "Open house" in the University City - 06JUL21

Mário and Cristine Zampol at the entrance to the Vaccination Center at Cidade Universitária.

Hugo Amaral / ECO

At the other end, and less impatient, is António Rebolo, who lavishes praise on the way the vaccination is being managed. “The first time, I arrived half an hour early and they told me to go inside. It took 5 minutes, not that long. Now, there are more people because they are anticipating and massifying vaccination”, he points out. With just over five minutes waiting, António Rebolo still has a long way to go before he goes through the pre-screening, however, the wait is nothing to torment him, asking everyone to “have more patience”.

In this sense, the 63-year-old user assumes that he prefers to wait longer for the sake of accelerating vaccination, which broke new records last Monday, with 141,500 vaccines administered in a single day. If you expected “five minutes, as before, thousands of people would not be vaccinated, but as the goal is to vaccinate quickly, I wait as long as it takes“, ensures.

At the top of the line, next to the entrance to the pavilion, there is a security guard accompanied by a military man, where users are forwarded to go inside the pavilion until they start the process. At an early stage, when this space opened as a vaccination center, with appointment, users had to wait outside, but in order to provide “as much comfort as possible” and to have “as little time standing up and waiting”, it was created this new post, explains Captain Doctor João Aniceto, head of support for the vaccination of pavilion 3, at Estádio Universitário, in Lisbon, to ECO.

Vaccination Center "Open house" in the University City - 06JUL21

Hugo Amaral / ECO

But it is only from the moment that the users are sent back to another queue, again outside the pavilion, that the whole process begins, which includes the screening (where their temperature is measured and where they are given a questionnaire to fill in), which will later be analyzed by a team of nurses, marking the end of this stage. “Registered and eligible for vaccination, users wait to be called”, explains Captain João Aniceto.

With 10 vaccination posts operating simultaneously, everything is organized to the millimeter so that nothing fails. “We are working with belts and suspenders so there are no gaps”. The guarantee is given by the captain and the truth is that, in general, users recognize the effort. “Compared to what we hear on television, I think everything is well organized“, points out Fátima Ferreira, soon after rolling up her sleeve to take the second dose of AstraZeneca.

After all, Fátima Ferreira took a while “about an hour and a half” until receiving the vaccine, nevertheless, he argues that “given the circumstances we have to be a little more patient”, shoot. Agla also admits that the waiting time was longer than when he took the first dose, but praises the organization. “I arrived here around 9:40 am and I’m leaving now, so I will be here for two hours. I think people like to talk a lot, but with a situation like this I think everything is fine. Could be better? It could, but it could also be worse”, he says.

Fátima Ferreira receives the vaccine “an hour and a half after arriving”.Hugo Amaral / ECO

After being vaccinated, users are taken to recovery, where they have to wait 30 minutes, in order to ensure that they do not develop adverse effects to the vaccine and, if something happens, they are immediately assisted. In this last stage, around noon, we met again with Celeste, who guarantees that she went “all right” and that she is now “more rested” because she has completed the vaccination. “This is like everywhere, if we don’t have an appointment we have to wait”, he concludes.

Vaccination Center "Open house" in the University City - 06JUL21
Celeste, already in the recovery area.Hugo Amaral / ECO

With capacity for 1,200 people, as in other vaccination centers in the country, the pace of vaccination is accelerating in this space. In the last three days, about 900 vaccines were administered per day in Pavilion 3 of the University Stadium alone, and yesterday “we were almost at the thousand”. The goal is to reach this threshold this Tuesday. If confirmed, it will be a record number, given that by midday “almost 400 vaccines” had already been administered, revealed the medical captain João Aniceto.

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