ATHENS – With daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 rising and the Delta Variant making up nearly 90 percent of them, Greece's advisory panel of doctors and scientists said fully vaccinated people with underlying health issues should get a third booster shot.
The booster shot with mRNA vaccines, if approved by the government, will be available in the first week of September, the head of the National Vaccination Committee told reporters, said Kathimerini.
“It will be given four weeks after the second dose in high-risk groups,” Maria Theodoridou said as there is debate in many countries, including the United States, about whether all fully vaccinated should get a third shot to combat the Delta Variant that can infect even them.
People who had undergone transplants or suffered from kidney failure, cancer patients and individuals with compromised immune systems were among the vulnerable groups, Theodoridou said.
As children and the young have become spreaders of the Coronavirus, the New Democracy government has begun vaccinations of those 12-15 to offer protection ahead of the September start of the new school year.
There were another 2,628 cases and 34 deaths on Aug. 24 and with worry as public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) that had seen numbers fall earlier in the summer are near two-thirds capacity.
The Delta Variant and people defying health measures is driving a resurgence of the pandemic but Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who waited months before requiring health workers to be vaccinated, said he will wait until autumn before deciding whether to make it mandatory for all.
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, Greece has recorded 561,812 cases and 13,422 deaths, said the news agency Reuters in a report, but only half the country's population of 10.7 million has been vaccinated so far.
Health officials first said at least 70 percent was the benchmark to beat back the pandemic but one member of the panel said 80-85 percent is preferred but there is a hard-core resistance of anti-vaxxers in Greece who refuse to be inoculated and keep the health crisis lingering.