Two medical experts and a government official made separate appeals to the public to take up the option of free coronavirus vaccinations on Wednesday morning, warning that the vast majority of Covid-19 patients intubated in the country’s intensive care units have not been immunized against the virus.
“As we intubated an elderly patient who was crying at the bad turn that his health had taken, we ascertained that he had not been vaccinated. He just shook his head,” Nikos Tzanakis, a pneumonologist at the University of Crete’s Medical School and at its general hospital in the city of Iraklio, told Skai TV. “What can you say to someone who realizes in that moment that it could all have been avoided?”
“These are real events that should convince people even if they haven’t witnessed them first-hand,” he said, describing another harrowing case of an elderly patient who recovered from the virus but was not allowed back home by her children who were afraid of becoming infected even though they were staunch coronavirus deniers.
Tzanakis also lamented the controversy that has often surrounded coronavirus vaccination programs both in Greece and across the European Union, particularly with regards the AstraZeneca vaccine. These “political storms,” he said, have been caused both by politicians and other “unqualified circles,” “with criminal consequences.”
In a similar vein, Deputy Health Secretary Zoe Rapti urged 30- and 40-year-olds to take up the vaccinations being offered and said that the 18-30 age group should start being inducted into the vaccination program after the middle of May.
“We are building a wall of immunity and this is something we are all doing together,” she said. “We are hoping to achieve 5 million vaccinations by mid-May,” she added.
“Getting vaccinated, if we have the option, is something we must do tomorrow,” Panagiotis Arkoumaneas, the president of the National Organization for Public Health (EODY), said in comments to Mega TV, adding that 95% of intubated patients have not been vaccinated.
“This is the third week of declining cases, of dropping positivity, while we also had a decline in deaths after a period of nine weeks,” he added, attributing the gradual contraction in transmission to the acceleration of the vaccination program.