NEWS

Health Minister: Pandemic could peak in early December or after Christmas

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Minister of Health Thanos Plevris said Monday that cases of the coronavirus will continue rising, adding that there are two likely pathways for the disease.

The good scenario, he told reporters in the Greek Parliament, is that the pandemic will peak in the first week of December; the bad scenario sees the peak after Christmas.

Plevris reiterated that “there will be no (generalized lockdown), nor is there a recommendation to that effect from the scientific committee” advising the government. The reason: “73% of the adult population has been vaccinated and is not at risk of serious disease,” the minister said.

And, although the minister said that booster shots are “going very well,” he conceded that, as pressure on the health system from the current pandemic wave rises, “we do not have the number of vaccinations we want…there is no interest from the elderly for the first dose.” He clarified that the unvaccinated over the age of 60 are by and large not interested in jabs. 

Bookings for first doses of the vaccines have surged in recent weeks, following the spike in new infections, but they come mostly from younger people.

“We will have a difficult winter ahead of us,” Maria Theodoridou, President of the National Vaccination Committee, said during Monday’s regular briefing of the media.

Theodoridou said that persons who take the booster shot develop additional immunity very fast, with antibodies rising just two or three days after the shot.

She added that the third dose of the vaccines has helped reduce the spread of the virus and the number of cases.

Theodoridou noted that the virus’ Delta mutation has increased re-infection in people who have been sick and vaccinated, and pointed out that booster shots offer the best possible immunity. She cautioned that natural immunity alone is not able to protect 100% from the coronavirus as several studies have established.

“We have exceeded 13,860,000 vaccinations. More than 6,910,000 of our fellow citizens have been vaccinated with at least one dose, which corresponds to 65.8% of the general population and 75.3% of the adult population,” said Marios Themistokleous, Secretary General for Primary Health Care at the Ministry of Health.

“More than 6,550,000 … have completed their vaccination, which corresponds to 62.3% of the general population and 71.8% of the adult population…the vaccination program is in full swing, we have the capacity for over 110,000 vaccinations a day,” he added.