Despite the return of people from their summer holidays at the end of August and the strict restrictions that came into force last Monday for the unvaccinated, the country’s inoculation program is moving at an alarmingly slow pace.
The rate of inoculation with the first dose is currently around 20,000 shots per day, which translates into around 120,000 new vaccinations per week.
At this rate, it will take about seven to eight weeks to reach 1 million additional vaccinations, which is the desired number to build a wall of immunity.
What’s more, with fears of a big spike in coronavirus cases due to the opening this week of schools, with universities following suit, the government is in a race against time to increase the Covid-19 vaccination rate so that an additional 1 million people get their shots before November at the latest.
In other words, the target of 7-7.5 million single-dose vaccinations will be reached in November – later than hoped.
Moreover, according to information seen by Kathimerini, the new appointments that have been booked until the end of the month, despite the slight increase, do not deviate from the rule of about 20,000-25,000 new vaccinations per day.
As was the case last year, the end of October and the beginning of November is considered a critical period as temperatures drop and people spend more time indoors, making the threat of a new wave real. As a result, the government is rushing to preempt the worst outcome so that November finds the country shielded.
Apart from young people, who are seen as a major spreading risk at this stage of the pandemic, the 60-64 age group is an additional worry, with a vaccination rate of just 67%.
Similarly, the 70-74 age group has a rate of just 69%. Both these groups are considered particularly vulnerable given that they have a higher risk of serious illness.
The issue of vaccination was also discussed during Wednesday’s government meeting under Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, which was attended by new Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Christos Stylianides and Deputy Minister Evangelos Tournas.
During the meeting, the discussion focused on ways of increasing the rate of vaccinations.