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Society

Greek Teens, Island Visitors, Residents Getting COVID-19 Shots

ATHENS — As Greece's Eleftheria (Freedom) vaccination campaign has sputtered short of the goal needed to beat back the COVID-19 pandemic, visitors to islands  – including teenagers – are getting their shots.

Some 61 percent of the country's population of 10.7 million has been fully vaccinated, with 70 percent needed to be effective in slowing the Coronavirus and try to restore some sense of normality.

Anti-vaxxers who believe the shots aren't safe nor effective, or will alter their DNA and part of an international conspiracy to control their minds have slowed hopes of driving back the pandemic

Island residents – Greece said it would create oases on islands to make them free of the virus – are also being inoculated, with an unnamed official at one island health center not identified telling Kathimerini that, “The first children we vaccinated were those of holidaymakers.”

About 650-700 daily vaccinations were carried out on the Cyclades islands in the last week, the paper said, with 2700 on Crete, 600-650 on the major island of Rhodes, 350 on Corfu 400 on Lesbos and 330 in Halkidiki in northern Greece.

Although anyone going to the islands, including tourists, has to show proof of being vaccinated, have a negative molecular test or a document showing they've recovered from the virus, tourism workers don't have to be vaccinated and many island residents weren't either.

Now the island health centers are busier with Greeks doing domestic tourism and heading there, increasing the demand for shots.

“We have 15-year-olds, 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds coming in with their parents to get vaccinated,” Maria Frantzaki, Coordinating Director and President of the scientific council of the General Hospital and Health Center of Kos and President of the medical association of the island, told the paper.

She said the teens are being motivated by the return to classes in September after many young shunned shots, some believing only the old could be infected, although younger groups have seen the cases rise. 

She said teens want “to engage in activities without being afraid of the Coronavirus,” as many public gathering venues such as movie theaters and concert halls could be closed to them otherwise, and some eateries.

So far, some 5,815,144 people (65 percent) nationwide had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 5,441,745 (61 percent) have received both shots of most versions or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson from the United States.

But with the summer and travel increasing, vaccinations have slowed dramatically across the country, from 100,000 daily in May and 54,000 daily in July to only about 30,000-32,000 so far in August, the report also said.

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