Portugal receives first batch of Moderna coronavirus vaccine

LISBON, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Portuguese Ministry of Health said on Wednesday that the country had received the first shipment of 8,400 doses of COVID-19 vaccine produced by U.S. biotechnology company Moderna.

This first batch will be administered to "priority health professionals at private hospitals that collaborate with the SNS (National Health Service) in the treatment and response to COVID-19 patients," the SNS said in a note.

"Portugal should receive 19,400 doses (of the Moderna vaccine) during the month of January, which will allow 9,700 people to be inoculated, since it is a multidose vaccine," it said.

The Portuguese health authorities say that "the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in Portugal continues as planned," with more than 75,000 people already vaccinated. They include SNS professionals, members of the Armed Forces, staff of the National Institute of Emergency Medicine and caregivers for the elderly.

Minister of Health Marta Temido said that Portugal had also received 238,950 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Portugal on Wednesday registered 10,556 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily number since the beginning of the pandemic. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in the country stands at 507,108. On Wednesday, 156 deaths were added to the total number of 8,326 fatalities.

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

Meanwhile, 236 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 63 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday.

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