LISBON, Portugal – Portuguese authorities say they are speeding up their COVID-19 vaccination drive nationwide after prompting an outcry by saying inoculations would be accelerated only in the Lisbon region.
The Lisbon and Tagus Valley region has recently seen an infection uptick, and on Tuesday it accounted for almost half of Portugal’s new daily cases, with 175.
The region extends more than 140 kilometers (87 miles) north from the capital and more than 80 kilometers (50 miles) to the east, with a population of around 3.6 million people.
Two weeks ago, a Lisbon soccer team won the national title, sending tens of thousands of fans into the streets to celebrate, many of them without masks.
The Health Ministry announced Tuesday evening that Lisbon region residents in their 40s could start getting vaccine shots starting June 6 and people in their 30s starting June 20.
Three hours later, amid protests from other cities about regional discrimination, the government said the stepped up rollout would cover the whole country.