Residents of the Greek islands will be able to choose the mRNA Covid-19 vaccination developed by Pfizer instead of just the single-dose viral vector jab by Johnson & Johnson within the coming days, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said on Tuesday.
“We’re really pushing the Blue Freedom program and multiplying the vaccination lines on the islands… in order to bolster vaccination coverage even further,” he told Skai TV, referring to the campaign to inoculate the country’s islanders by its moniker.
Kikilias addressed public concerns about blood clots stemming from viral vector vaccines, saying the risks are “negligible,” and argued that a woman taking birth control pills are 20,000 times more likely to develop a clot.
Asked about speculation regarding government plans to offer certain privileges to people who have been fully vaccinated, Kikilias said that this will happen “only after the vaccines are available to every citizen.”
“It is not about punishing everyone else but rewarding or facilitating those who have been vaccinated on the basis of their social or economic activities,” he stressed.
“We will look at incentives once the tourism season is over and decide what to do with people who do not want to be vaccinated in the fall. I believe that society itself will compel them to get vaccinated,” he said.
“Society cannot shut down for another winter. It’s not a game; lives are still being lost,” the health minister stressed.
Kikilias also appeared cautious about making vaccines compulsory for frontline health workers.
“Knee-jerk decisions are unwise when hospitals are locked in battle, when Covid wards and ICUs are full, and doctors and nurses are at risk of burnout,” he said.