ATHENS – Greece has far from finished giving COVID-19 vaccines to enough of the population to further beat back the pandemic but already there is talk of booster shots that would be required in the winter, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis saying there is sufficient supply if needed.
After a meeting in his office with European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides from Cyprus, he said the EU, “took the politically difficult decision to purchase vaccines as the European Union and to distribute them to member-states solely on the basis of population size, without any distinctions between countries, poor or rich, big or small.”
He praised the EU after the government earlier had pushed for the bloc's leaders to speed deliveries that were delayed so much it cut into hopes for inoculating enough residents to allow more tourist travel.
“More importantly, we now have enough vaccines so see us through the winter, into next year, in the increasingly likely case that a booster shot will be needed by the entire population,” he added, said Kathimerini.
On her part, the Commissioner said: "I had the opportunity today to visit a vaccination centre, we also had a discussion with the Health Minister on issues related to the vaccination programme. It is extremely important for us that the vaccination programme, as you said, be carried out in all the member states. We are in a – I would say – fragile phase of the pandemic where we have many reasons to be optimistic with the vaccines we have, but there can certainly be no complacency."
Kyriakides also thanked Mitsotakis for supporting the European Health Union and for all the proposals made. "It is obvious that we will have to proceed with structural changes, so that we can face possible future crises. For us, the primary goal is to continue together in the same way as we have done so far with the vaccine strategy. We have already announced a strategy for treatment programmes, so that access to treatment is available for all member-states, regardless of size. As with the vaccines, we have already signed an agreement with one company for 2022-2023 and it was concluded last night and a second agreement with another company for vaccines for 2022 – 2023 and we will move forward again with a portfolio that will protect us, especially as regards mutations. In all member-states, what we are seeing today is, I would say, a decline in the number of coronavirus cases, fortunately in hospitalisations, but at the same time we are watching very closely the evolution of mutations, especially the Delta variant, which is currently causing problems, as you know, in the United Kingdom. That is why I really want to express my thanks and those of the Commission and the President for all the support from Greece throughout this difficult year and a half and we will be by your side so that we can move forward together to emerge from the pandemic as soon as possible."
Kyriakides also said that,“What we are seeing in all member-states right now is a downward course in the number of coronavirus cases and, fortunately, in hospitalization, but we are also keeping a very close watch on the evolution of the variants, and especially the Delta variant, which, as you know, is causing problems in the United Kingdom right now”.