A woman receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Lille, France, on Dec. 28, 2020. (Stephane Mortagne/CHU de Lille/Handout via Xinhua)

Vaccination rollout in Portugal above EU average pace: health ministry

The Portuguese Ministry of Health reported on Saturday that the country’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout is above the average pace in the European Union (EU).

The ministry said Portugal has administered 7.50 doses per 100 inhabitants, compared to the EU average of 6.83/100.

Two months after starting its vaccination campaign, Portugal has administered at least the first dose to 837,887 people, including 263,825 who have received the second shot.

The number of first doses given exceeds the country’s cumulative COVID-19 infections, which stood at 803,844 after 1,071 new cases were registered in the last 24 hours, according to data from health authorities.

Portugal recorded another 33 deaths related to COVID-19 on Saturday, pushing the death toll to 16,276 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Currently, 2,180 patients are hospitalized, 492 of them in intensive care units. Meanwhile, 2,820 people recovered in the 24-hour period, bringing the total recoveries to 717,313.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in many countries with already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 255 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide — 73 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to the latest information released by the World Health Organization.