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Sciences

COVID-19 Vaccine for 12-15 Year-Olds in Greece Up in the Air

ATHENS – Greece's bid to inoculate at least 70 percent of the population to slow the COVID-19 pandemic for now won't include the 12-15 year-old group although the Pfizer-BioNTech was said to be highly effective for them.

Greece’s National Vaccination Committee said it still hasn't decided to go ahead even though the European Medicines Agency (EMA) – which approved the AstraZeneca vaccine despite a number of blood clot deaths – said it's okay.

The committee Chairwoman, Maria Theodoridou, said the EMA advisory sn't binding although it was accepted for the AZ vaccine, now stipulating it shouldn't be given to women under 50.

“The commission’s recommendation may concern the vaccination of children at increased risk of serious illness and not all children,” she told the Health Ministry’s daily Coronavirus briefing, said Kathimerini.

As for the children, including young teens, she said there are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration, including how they affect transmission of the disease, the vaccine's benefits versus the efficacy and the risk – like all of them. In this case, she said, parental consent must also be given.

The New Democracy government is concentrating on vaccinating as many adults as possible to hit the 70 percent mark and convince tourists the country is safe to visit after a 2020 wipeout.

As of May 31, one of two required doses of the vaccines, apart from the single-shot Johnson & Johnson version from the United States, had been given to 3,630,000 people but only 2,040,000 people had gotten both, some 19.44 percent.

But younger people are also lining up fast, with vaccinations proof seen opening more doors for them, such as getting into restaurants inside once they're allowed to serve as health measures are abating now.

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