The Council of Portuguese Medical Schools questions suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The recent announcement of the suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Portugal is generating a wave of distrust and disbelief that needs to be tackled. The Council of Portuguese Medical Schools (CEMP), alongside health experts worldwide who have shown concern over recent decisions in some countries, including Portugal, wishes to demystify unfounded ideas that affect fighting the pandemic, as vaccination plays a predominant role.
It is important to clarify that these decisions, which we believe were taken as a precaution, seem to stem from the pressure of media coverage of the vaccination process. To the detriment of scientific grounds, it makes a highly rash judgment on matters where there can be no case-by-case analysis.
Indeed, the scientific evidence that we currently have does not demonstrate the need to suspend the use of a vaccine that, until now, has been administered to around 17 million people in Europe and the United Kingdom. It has shown very low incidence of side effects and the causal link has not been demonstrated.
Thus, we cannot fail to appeal to the national health authorities to support the decisions that directly affect the vaccination plan in Portugal using factual scientific data. This will contribute to fighting unfounded public judgment that only fuels people’s mistrust and the delay of a process that is urgent to complete for the health of the country.
Portugal, 16 March 2021
Council of Portuguese Medical Schools,
Henrique Cyrne Carvalho, Director of the Abel Salazar Institute of Biomedical Sciences
Altamiro da Costa Pereira, Director of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto
Carlos Robalo Cordeiro, Director of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra
Fausto J. Pinto, President of CEMP and Director of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon
Isabel Palmeirim, Director of the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences of the University of Algarve
Jaime Branco, Director of Nova Medical School | FCM of the New University of Lisbon
Miguel Castelo Branco, President of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Beira Interior
Nuno Sousa, Director of the School of Medicine at the University of Minho