Portugal has already had to destroy 3.5 million covid-19 vaccines. Brussels tries to renegotiate contracts with pharmaceutical companies


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Because vaccines are past their expiration date and compliance with covid-19 vaccination is declining, several member states are being forced to throw vaccines away. In Portugal, the destruction rate is 8.5%.

Portugal destroyed about 3.5 million doses of vaccines against covid-19 that were purchased through the joint purchasing mechanism of the European Commission. The information was disclosed by the newspaper “Público“, at a time when the European Commission is trying to renegotiate contracts with pharmaceutical companies due to the accumulation of doses of vaccines that have not been used and are past the (short) deadline that they present for use.

According to the Ministry of Health, in the national territory, the wasted rate is 8.5% (one of the lowest, at a European level), thanks to the “great adherence of the Portuguese to vaccination” and the effectiveness of supply management.

Between 2020 and 2023, Portugal closed 14 contracts with six vaccine suppliers, and approximately 40 million of the 61.7 million doses ordered and purchased were delivered. Of those 40 million, 28.5 million doses were used; 8.1 million were donated, and Portugal resold 2.6 million to other countries. Portugal expected to receive more than 20 million doses this year, but now expects to reduce, as well as extend delivery times, since a centralized EU renegotiation process is underway. The “Financial Times” has already advanced that the agreement will extend until 2026 the deliveries scheduled for the end of this year.

As in other member states, in Portugal, the campaign for the second booster – which corresponds, in most cases, to the fourth dose – no longer achieved the adherence results of yesteryear: this round of vaccination led 79% of the elderly aged 80 and over to be immunized, a figure that contrasts with the 97% of the first booster. People aged 50 to 59 showed an adhesion of 45%, compared to 87% in the first booster. Also according to the newspaper “Público”, between April 17 and 23, only an average of 187 doses of vaccine per day were administered in the booster campaign.

Millions of vaccine doses have already passed the deadline: Germany signaled in January that it had 36.6 million doses expiring, and Austria revealed that about 18 million were unused after its deadline passed.

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