Low vaccination coverage, especially among socially marginalised groups, as well as a generalised epidemic in Europe and more specifically in neighbouring Italy and Romania, are the main causes for the outbreak of a measles epidemic in Greece, the vice president of the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDCP), Agapios Terzidis, said in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Monday.
However, he estimated that due to prompt preparation, it will not become as widespread as in other European countries, such as in Romania, where some 10,000 cases have been recorded.
“The epidemic outbreak did not find us unprepared, we had already purchased about 50,000 vaccines and we started implementing a vaccination plan,” he said.
With the onset of the epidemic in nearby countries, the HCDCP launched a campaign to inform the public and raise awareness of the risks, using posters, advertisements, and actions to vaccinate socially vulnerable groups such as Roma, migrants and refugees.
Since last June, he stressed, 12,000 doses of vaccine have been produced and 25,000 vaccinations will be carried out by the end of the year.
According to HCDCP figures, many European countries are currenty experiencing a measles epidemic. More than 19,000 cases and 44 deaths have been reported across Europe in 2016-2017. In Greece, there have been 368 cases of measles and one death in that time.