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EU Commissioner Kyriakides: Greece’s Vaccination Programme Exemplary

ΑΤΗΕΝS — The EU vaccine strategy and the course of Greece's national vaccination campaign against Covid-19 dominated the meeting between European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides and Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias at the health ministry on Tuesday. Alternate Health Minister Vassilis Kontozamanis and Deputy Health Minister Zoe Rapti participated in the meeting.

Kyriakides, accompanied by Kikilias, also visited the Mega Vaccination Center "Prometheus" in Athens, where they were welcomed by the Secretary General of Primary Health Care Marios Themistokleous.

The Commissioner toured the premises of the vaccination centre, talked to staff and members of the public that had gone there to get vaccinated, congratulating the health minister for the flawless organisation of the vaccination operation.

"I really want to congratulate the vaccine programme, which is going ahead at a very rapid, but I would also say judicious pace, with the aim of vaccinating as many people as possible so that we can return to normalcy," Kyriakides said. She noted that the vaccination centre was well equipped and respected citizens, in a way that was exemplary.

Kyriakides pointed out that Europe is currently in a "sensitive" phase of the pandemic. "Coronavirus cases in Europe are steadily declining in all member states, but this is not a time for complacency. There are mutations. We are following them closely and the message I would like to send to every Greek citizen is that the vaccines that have been approved by the European Medicines Agency, all four of them, are both safe and effective and to proceed with the vaccination," she said.

The Commissioner noted that vaccination was the only way out of the crisis and urged all citizens to "go ahead with getting vaccinated as soon as possible".

On his part, Kikilias thanked the Commissioner "for the extraordinary effort made by her and the Commission, based on the common vision and the common European course, so that all member-states can have support and assistance in this huge public health crisis."

He stressed that "we are in an unprecedented pandemic, which we have all been called upon to face and here you see the culmination of this effort, which is the common European supply of vaccines. It has been done with personal effort and cost, because it is not always easy for everyone to agree on the unit of time. But it happened. You can see that the vaccination programme in Europe is progressing at a very satisfactory pace – and here in Greece, of course. "

"Our joint efforts and the guidance we have from the Commission and Europe are significant and consistent in whatever has arisen all these months. Of course, the effort is always for even more and better things, but I would say, once again, after the recent Council of Health Ministers in Luxembourg, in the presence of the Commissioner, that it is sometimes not at all easy to find the precise common factor that enables us to take the important steps that have been taken. I dare say that, especially for the smaller member-states, it would be much more difficult, and I speak from experience, to be able to procure vaccines in time, so that we can protect our fellow citizens. We are very pleased with the way the programme is progressing," Kikilias underlined.

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