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Greece Offers COVID-19 Variant Shots, Anti-Vaxxers Exempt

September 13, 2022

ATHENS – The waning COVID-19 pandemic has seen the essential end of almost all health measures aimed at slowing its spread, but new vaccines and booster shots will be available in Greece now.

An online platform to book vaccination appointments with the latest shots has opened and the first will be available on Sept. 14, with the new strain better able to deal with twists in the Coronavirus.

While vaccines, and booster shots, have saved lives, the head of the National Vaccinations Committee Professor Maria Theodoridou said they have limited immunity and couldn’t deal well with new variants.

The European Medicines Agency has approved two updated vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, that are more capable in targeting the Omega strand of the virus.

Theodoridou stated that the goal was to increase the level of antibodies that are capable of handling the 1,2 and 5 variants of Omicron, said Kathimerini, and with side-effects the same as previous vaccines.

Priorities will be given to high-risk individuals, those over 60, the 12-15 age group, those with underlying conditions, employees who live and work in elderly care facilities, and those with chronic diseases, the immunosuppressed and healthcare professionals.

“A total of 21,350,000 doses of vaccines have been administered in Greece. More than 7.6 million people have completed their vaccination. More than 5,845,000 citizens have received booster shots,” Primary Care Health Secretary General Marios Themistocleous said, reported the Chinese news agency Xinhua.

But the shots aren’t mandatory and the New Democracy government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis long ago backed away from making them a requirement, giving often-virulent anti-vaxxers a pass.

Life has returned almost to normal across the country, without masks or social distancing although health officials have warned against complacency, and 40,100 cases and 180 deaths from Aug. 29-Sept. 4, and more coming.

Several restrictive measures against COVID-19 have been relaxed in Greece since the spring, and the number of new infections decreased during the summer, according to official weekly data. A total of 40,100 new cases and 180 deaths were recorded in the period between Aug. 29 and Sept. 4.

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