In an all-out effort to stem the tide of the fourth wave of the pandemic, spearheaded by the Delta variant, mobile vaccination teams and private doctors are being enlisted to increase inoculation rates.
These mobile units of the Health Ministry will be placed in squares and outside churches, in an effort to convince those hesitant to get their jabs or to facilitate those who have difficulty accessing the vaccination centers.
Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said the program will be implemented with the cooperation of priests and the Holy Synod.
At the same time, about 1,000 private doctors will start administering vaccinations in the coming days. According to the general secretary of primary healthcare, Marios Themistokleous, private doctors will be able to make vaccination appointments for their patients and also procure vaccines so that they can proceed with inoculations against the coronavirus at their clinics. Speaking to Skai Radio on Thursday, Themistokleous said that, so far, some 1,000 doctors have signed up to participate in the program.
Regarding the third booster shot, he said it will start being administered to specific categories of people around the middle of September. The main criteria for booster shots in the coming months will be how much time has passed since the second vaccination and the recipient’s age. Themistokleous pointed out that the competent services are operationally ready and appointments for the third shot will be easy to make. He added that about 30,000 first-dose appointments are booked daily.
Regarding health workers, he said that out of 115,000, about 20,000 are unvaccinated, but stressed that this number is decreasing as the September 1 cutoff point approaches, after which shots will be mandatory.
Meanwhile the effort by the union representing public hospital staff (POEDIN) to form a front against compulsory vaccination appears not to be gaining ground among health workers. Tellingly, participation in Thursday’s demonstration in downtown Athens against the mandatory jabs was by all accounts at low levels in terms of numbers.
Meanwhile, 3,538 new coronavirus cases were recorded on Thursday, of which 29 were detected at the country’s entry points. The median age of cases was 39 years.
Health authorities said 336 were receiving treatment in intensive care units, while another 28 people died due to complications caused by the coronavirus.