Vaccination of migrants to start in May, minister says

Vaccination of migrants to start in May, minister says

Migrants and refugees in Greece’s camps will start being vaccinated in May, Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis said in an interview with state-run news agency ANA on Sunday, adding that “he sees no reason” to do it earlier.

Mitarakis said that the number of migrants who have the right to be vaccinated “is still small,” since the majority of the residents in the camps are young or middle-aged.

“Data shows that the migration camps are not facing an issue of morbidity or spread of Covid-19 and thus do not fall into any special category. This concerns both the employees and residents of these structures, who will be vaccinated, in turn, based on age, along with the general population,” he told ANA.

When vaccinations started for the 80-85 age group, authorities registered eleven residents in camps across the country who qualified, most of whom did not want to receive the jab, he added.

Asked about his recent announcement that the two new facilities on Lesvos and Chios will not be ready by September, Mitarakis said his ministry is waiting for the EU to disburse the funds and sign the relevant contract before a tender for the construction of the camps is initiated.

He also said that the new camps in Samos, Leros, Kos will be completed in the summer of 2021.

All the new facilities are paid for by the EU, he added.

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, is expected to visit the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos and Samos on Monday to assess the progress made by the Greek authorities in building the new facilities.

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