LISBON, Portugal -- People not immunized or having received only one dose of vaccine constitute 98 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Portugal, the Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) reported on Tuesday.
The reduction in the risk of hospitalization was obvious among patients who were fully vaccinated, and immunization "reduces by up to three times the risk of death" of the coronavirus, according to Andre Peralta Santos, an expert from the DGS.
Most of the patients hospitalized at this moment in Portugal are over 60 years old, but a significant number of hospitalized people are aged 20-39.
"Where the vaccine advances, the virus retreats," and vaccination "is the key in the lives of Portuguese people," Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said.
He celebrated the fact that the rate of people who do not want to be vaccinated in Portugal is low, and encouraged undecided people to look at the scientific data and change their position.
The Portuguese Council of Ministers will meet on Thursday to decide whether to ease the current restrictions in force in the country, after hearing experts' guidance at the meeting.
A bulletin released Tuesday by the DGS said 52 percent of the Portuguese population had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.