Efforts to increase low vaccination rates in northern Greece intensifying

Efforts to increase low vaccination rates in northern Greece intensifying

Health authorities are intensifying efforts to convince people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus starting on Tuesday in areas of Macedonia in northern Greece where inoculation rates are low. 

According to reports, mobile vaccination units will operate in 48 towns and villages, including Pieria, Kilkis, Xanthi, Drama, Pella, Florina and Serres, until Thursday within the framework of the Freedom operation.

Indicatively, vaccination rates in specific areas range from 41.7% fully vaccinated in Kilkis to 47.7% in Florina.

The exact schedule of the mobile units can be found on the Health Ministry website. 

“We call on unvaccinated citizens to visit the units, even if they do not want to be vaccinated, to talk to the health staff of the units, to get answers to any questions, so that they can decide what to do,” said General Secretary for Primary Healthcare Marios Themistokleous.

The senior heath official will this week visit areas of Macedonia for talks with health professionals as well as local officials regarding the way forward.

According to Themistokleous, until Monday, 62% of the general population in Greece (71.3% of adults) had been vaccinated with at least one dose. The corresponding averages in EU countries are 68.3% and 79.9%. The fully vaccinated comprise 59.5% of the general population (63.2% the EU average). Among adults, 69% are fully vaccinated (74.3% EU). Moreover, about 120,000 people have been vaccinated with the third dose while 50,000 have made an appointment. 

The president of the National Vaccination Committee, Maria Theodoridou, encouraged people to proceed with the third dose of the vaccine on Monnday, noting that the side effects are similar to or even milder than the side effects of the second dose. She added that the risk of infection among people who have been administered the third shot against Covid-19 is 11 times lower than those who haven’t while the risk of becoming ill is 20 times lower.

Meanwhile, the National Organization for Public Health (EODY) on Mondday reported 41 new Covid-related fatalities, which took the overall death toll since the start of the pandemic to 15,177. It also reported 2,383 confirmed new infections while the news is also bleak for the country’s hospitals, which have 331 Covid-19 patients on ventilators, pushing capacity at intensive care units close to 70%. 

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