One-Third of Greeks Have Never Been Vaccinated

Photo: Eurokinissi/ Yiannis Panagopoulos, file

ATHENS – With measles still a problem and the disease diptheria thought to have been eradicated showing up again and killing an 8-year-old boy, there’s concern about the low rate of vaccinations in Greece, with one-third of the population never being inoculated.

That was the finding of a survey presented during a recent conference organized by the Greek Society of General and Family Medicine, based on a sample of 1,571 people that also revealed that the same amount are worried about side effects and one-in-seven wonder if the shots are effective.

Some 40 percent over the age of 60 won’t even get vaccinated for flu, which has led to high rates and deaths over the past few years with many people disbelieving it’s effective in preventing the disease, many finding out too late what happens otherwise.

Experts said that the absence of a nationwide immunization register prevents health authorities from identifying vulnerable individuals, reported Kathimerini.

In October, 2018 news reports said the spread of measles across the country could be tied to the failure to get vaccinations, especially in the Roma population, a group which lives outside the mainstream.

Children were predominantly hit but there was a big number of cases as well among young to middle-aged adults from 25-44 in the general population, the business newspaper Naftermoriki said at the time.

Roma made up 65 percent of registered cases (1,263 out of 1,976), the rest of the population accounted for 25 percent of cases, and the other 10 percent comprised foreign nationals.

In September, 2017, there were 196 cases. The head of the Hellenic Pediatric Society, Andreas Konstantopoulos, said then that 350,000 children aged 15 months to four years old had not been vaccinated, adding that it is unknown how many Greeks born after 1970 have received one dose – or none- of the MMR vaccine.

Konstantopoulos also said he’s in favor of making vaccination a compulsory requirement for the registration of children at school, although some groups don’t believe in them and even think it’s part of a government conspiracy to inoculate children.