More than 100,000 vaccines administered

In six months, 50 vans travelled almost 130,000 kilometres. "Gulbenkian wherever needed" initiative may have contributed to preventing 1,406 deaths by COVID-19.
©Márcia Lessa

The 50 mobile vaccination units made available by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to the Ministry of Health as a means of supporting the COVID-19 vaccination plan have returned to the Foundation. The project “Gulbenkian wherever needed”, which provided five dozen vehicles and vans to take the vaccine to the most vulnerable populations, limited in their mobility and with less access to the Health Units, has now been concluded.

The Project took place between March and September and administered 102,488 doses of vaccines covering a distance of 124,938 kilometres with 50 mobile units. During this period, vaccination campaigns were carried out during 172 days in the 5 Regional Health Administrations, involving 30 Health Centre Groups that cover 5,903,314 users (57% of the population).

The vaccination reached 12.5% of bedridden people, 87.3% of the general population and 0.2% of the prison population. 3,012 health professionals were involved, including 946 doctors, 1,711 nurses and 355 operational assistants.

In sum, more than 50,000 citizens were vaccinated, including at least 6,000 bedridden and vulnerable people at high risk of developing COVID-19 and of dying because of the virus.

It is estimated that the “Gulbenkian wherever needed” initiative may have contributed to preventing 1,406 deaths and 2,124 hospitalisations associated with Covid-19.

“The mission of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has been, since its early days, to work closely with the most vulnerable. After launching an Emergency Fund of 5 million euros in the beginning of the pandemic, in 2020, we tried with this initiative ‘Gulbenkian wherever needed’ to help health authorities and the vaccination task force to reach those who have more difficulty in accessing the normal vaccination circuits. “If we want to rise to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, we all have a role to play,” said Isabel Mota, President of the Gulbenkian Foundation.

This partnership with the Ministry of Health has allowed the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to continue its legacy in the vaccination field. It is important to recall that back in 1965, the Foundation financed the first vaccination plan carried out at national level, acquiring vaccines against polio, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis and enabling, for example, 3 million children to be vaccinated against polio that same year. As a result of that plan, Portugal became one of the first countries to eradicate polio. Whether yesterday or today, Gulbenkian is wherever it is needed.