The president of Greece’s National Vaccine Committee Maria Theodoridou explained the decision to reverse existing vaccination policy and offer the AstraZeneca jab to people over-65 during a regular update on the country’s vaccination drive on Monday.
“It is safe, it creates an immune response, and is efficient and protects all those vaccinated,” she said of the British-Swedish pharmaceutical’s vaccine. She stressed its importance in reducing the rate of hospital admissions as well as reducing the severity of symptoms in patients.
Theodoridou addressed the reasoning behind earlier vaccination policy which did not use the vaccine for those over 65, noting that when approval was given to administer the AstraZeneca jab, there was not enough research on its effects on that age group and it was decided to restrict its use to the ages 18-64.
However, following the widespread use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the United Kingdom as well as two recently published studies there is enough evidence to change recommendation.
“According to the first study, there was an 85% reduction in hospital admissions when using the Pfizer vaccine and 94% reduction when using the AstraZeneca vaccine. One dose of the vaccine was enough to decrease the rate of admissions,” she said.
The second study is from the UK and has a sample size of 7,500,000 people. “This case reinforces the efficacy of the vaccine on those aged over 70.”
The ongoing vaccine drive in Greece reached the one million vaccinations milestone in Greece last week.