Vice Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo believes that the success of his mission at the head of the vaccination task force against covid-19 was due to organization, communication, leadership and, above all, another factor: “I am not a politician and I led the process outside the fights [políticas]”, he told the American television station CBS.
“Do you think it was important to depoliticize the matter?” asked the reporter. “Yes. Of course, that was very important.”
The success of the vaccination process against covid-19 in Portugal, with one of the highest rates of vaccinated population in the world, is an example cited in various parts of the world and attracts outsiders. The most recent example is this one from the American television station CBS, which wanted to tell how a military man, Vice Admiral Gouveia e Melo, managed to carry out what in many other countries is proving to be more difficult: to convince the overwhelming population about the benefits of vaccination.
“A former submarine commander was put in charge of Portugal’s vaccination effort in February as the country struggled with a deadly third wave,” contextualizes CBS, which interviewed Henrique Gouveia and Melo to learn the secrets about the success of their mission.
At the North American station, Gouveia e Melo remembered the combat outfit he always insisted on wearing. “I always appeared in public in military uniform.” Asked why, the vice admiral explained: “Because it was a phase of war.”
A “war”, he said, without neutral parties: “In this war there are only two sides. And the question is: Are you on the side of the virus, helping the virus because you don’t want to be vaccinated? Or are you on the side of the community, for good of all? “
Thanks to the very natural mission of Gouveia and MElo, recalls CBS, Portugal is practically tied with the United Arab Emirates in terms of fully vaccinated citizens: more than 87% of the entire population.
The CBS report also spoke with Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave, who said that vaccination in Portugal was very important to the success of the technology summit, with large multinational companies changing their stance regarding physical presence in Lisbon, and with scientist Maria Mota, from the Instituto de Medicina Molecular, who recalled the importance of replicating the success of vaccination in Portugal in the rest of the world, as “this is a global pandemic” that can only be overcome together.