Mobile Vaccination Units now circulating nationwide

After a pilot phase in the Norte region, the project, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, seeking to reach out to those with less access to the main vaccination circuits, now also extends across the Alentejo, the Algarve, Lisboa e Vale do Tejo and Centro regions.
© Márcia Lessa
© Márcia Lessa

Throughout the first four weeks (from 12 March to 11 April) in which they circulated through the hinterlands of healthcare centres selected by the authorities in the Norte region, the five mobile vaccination units made available by the Gulbenkian Foundation to the Covid-19 Vaccination Task Force covered a distance of 9,680 km to administer 1,188 vaccines to citizens and communities with difficulty in accessing the normal vaccination centres.

The circulation of these five units across the north of Portugal (joined by another passenger vehicle) made up part of the Gulbenkian onde é preciso (Gulbenkian wherever needed) pilot project that returned a clearly positive outcome in this phase.

The project is now being scaled-up; in addition to these units, which are continuing with their circulation in the Norte region, many others are now joining the fleet but in other zones:

  • 15 (passenger vehicles) are already circulating in Lisboa e Vale do Tejo;
  • Four (light goods vehicles) in the Alentejo;
  • three (light goods vehicles) in the Algarve; and
  • eight (light goods vehicles) in the Centro region.

Over the course of this week, a further 14 vehicles will be delivered to the Norte Healthcare Authorities, thus complying with the agreement reached with the Ministry of Health to provide 50 mobile units as a means of supporting the Covid-19 Vaccination Plan.

“From the very outset, the vocation of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has been to be there alongside the most vulnerable. After having launched an emergency fund at the beginning of the pandemic, we are currently assisting with the efforts of the healthcare authorities and the Task Force to reach those who have the greatest difficulties in accessing the normal vaccination sites. Because, to overcome the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic, we all have a role to play”, stated Isabel Mota, president of the Gulbenkian Foundation.

With this project, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation remains right where it is most needed as it did throughout decades with its touring libraries program. It was based on this spirit that this project was developed in partnership with the Ministry of Health.