NEWS

Green light to be given for pediatricians to vaccinate 12-17 year-olds

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In a bid to get more parents on board with the vaccination of their children and curb the rapid spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the novel coronavirus, the government on Tuesday said that it will be authorizing pediatricians in public as well as in private practice to administer Covid-19 jabs to 12-17 year-olds.

The official decision paving the way for children to be vaccinated by their doctor rather than at a hub or hospital will be issued in the coming days, after some technical details are ironed out, the government said following a hybrid meeting convened by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at his office.

“We’re a week before the opening of [public] schools and I believe this is the perfect time to launch a great new effort to increase the vaccination rate among minors,” Mitsotakis told officials at the meeting.

“Because pediatricians often play the role of family doctor for many Greek families, they will be asked whether children should be vaccinated or not, so their support is crucial,” said Maria Theodoridou, the president of Greece’s National Vaccination Committee.

Vaccinated 12-17 year-olds can play a “catalytic role in controlling the pandemic” and ensuring that children can enjoy a healthy social life, added infectious disease expert Sotiris Tsiodras, one of the leading members of the committee advising the government on Covid policy.

Tsiodras also said that health authorities estimate nearly 100% of all new infections in Greece to be with the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus, making the vaccination of minors even more imperative.

“The high transmissibility of the Delta variant also concerns our children, which is why it is so important that measures for preventing the spread of the virus are upheld at schools,” he said, noting that three of his seven children – those aged 12-17 – have been vaccinated against the virus. 

Describing all vaccines as the “biggest gift science has ever given humanity,” the prime minister also advised officials to “remind people as part of our overall public discourse that no scientific discovery has extended the human lifespan like the vaccine.”