Greece is making a Covid-19 booster vaccine available to an estimated 285,000 people belonging to vulnerable groups from Tuesday, hoping to curb a rise in Delta variant infections.
Authorities started making booster jab appointments available from Tuesday to persons with compromised immune systems and individuals over the age of 60.
“It can be administered 6-8 months after the second dose,” said Maria Theodoridou, chair of the Greek National Vaccination Committee, on Monday. “For the immuno-compromised it can be given even four weeks after the second dose.”
Theodoridou also said that 140,000 children aged 12-17 have been vaccinated to date. The vaccination rate for 12 to 14 year olds is 13 percent and for 15 to 17 year olds 25%.
Greece on Monday introduced mandatory weekly testing for all unvaccinated workers as it struggles to boost vaccination rates that are lagging the European Union average.
Public and private sector employees have to pay for weekly tests or carry a vaccination certificate to gain access to their place of work, while unvaccinated children at high schools, which reopened Monday, are being given test kits distributed at government expense.
Similar restrictions also apply at sports stadiums, museums and archaeological sites, as well as indoor leisure areas like cinemas and restaurants.
Some 56% of Greece’s residents have been fully vaccinated, while the average rate in the EU is just over 60%.
Greece has imposed vaccine mandates for health care workers and allows the vaccination of children starting at age of 12.
Authorities reported 1,608 new Covid-19 infections and 51 related deaths on Monday, bringing the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 616,765 and the death toll to 14,223.