ATHENS – While they’re not required, COVID-19 vaccination shots are now being made available to children in Greece aged 5-11 on the advice of health officials as the winter season looms.
The inoculations began Dec. 15 with some 29,000 having appointments for the first shots with the Pfifzer/BioNTech version that has one-third of the adult dose, and a second shot after 21 days in most cases.
“Their vaccination will primarily protect them, while at the same time reduce the number of cases in schools and boost herd immunity levels within society in general,” said Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and member of the government’s experts committee Vana Papaevangelou, said Kathimerini.
She said that the data from the US and Israel on the safety of vaccines shows there’s a low risk, parents and guardians being urged to register the children for the shots at the same time some are refusing, along with health measures.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that more than five million children have received the first dose and 1.8 million children have completed their two-dose vaccination in the US.
“It is emphasized that there is no indication of unexpected side effects from the administration of the vaccine to children 5-11 years old, nor have episodes of myocarditis-pericarditis been recorded after the vaccination,” Papaevangelou said, the report added.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis backed away from a pledge to consider mandatory shots if the pandemic worsened – it did – and only health care workers are required to be inoculated although after Jan. 16, 2022 it will be required for those over 60 years old.