VACCINATIONS

Greece is still far away from herd immunity

greece-is-still-far-away-from-herd-immunity

Authorities want to reach herd immunity against the coronavirus as soon as possible, especially in areas popular with tourists, but the number of vaccinated people is far from that threshold, which many experts put at 70% of the population.

In fact, the latest data show that Greece is less than halfway there, with 35.54% of its residents, or 3,873,388 people, either having completed their vaccination or booked an appointment for their second and final shot (or first and only if vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine). And if data show that in every over-60 age category the numbers exceed 70%, this is still low for people most vulnerable to the virus. The 80-84 and 85-and-over age brackets show that 71% in each have either completed vaccination or booked an appointment, which means nearly three out of 10 in these most vulnerable groups are essentially unprotected.

The government is now aiming at the highest possible vaccination coverage of tourist destinations, especially where skepticism is the highest. To this effect, the Health Ministry’s top officials visited the island of Crete, where arrivals are expected to rise steeply after July 15.

Convincing the skeptics is one task, which is perhaps beyond the government’s power. But there are also those who live in isolated areas or are confined to their homes, many of them elderly. Vaccinations at home, rather than designated centers, will soon become the authorities’ priority.

At the other end of the age scale, the online vaccination booking system will soon be made available to teenagers aged 15-18 and experts are debating whether to make vaccines available to youngsters under the age of 15.

While young people exhibit few of the serious symptoms older people face, they can still spread the disease and it has been shown that the newly prevailing mutations of the disease, especially Delta, which originated in India, are far more easily transmissible than the original Wuhan virus.