ATHENS HEALTH SUMMIT

Minister says pandemic’s toll now on shoulders of unvaccinated

minister-says-pandemics-toll-now-on-shoulders-of-unvaccinated

Greece is facing a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” State Minister Akis Skertsos said Wednesday, adding that nine out of ten intubated Covid-19 patients in the country’s hospitals are unvaccinated.

Speaking on the second day of the Athens Health Summit organized by Kathimerini newspaper, Skertsos said that among European Union countries, Greece comes 16th in terms of Covid-related deaths per million inhabitants.

The conservative minister said red tape, pandemic fatigue, and lack of public trust in the institutions are undermining government efforts to curb the spread of the virus. Nevertheless, he said that official data show Greece is faring better than the EU average “which alone is a significant accomplishment.”

Clarifying that authorities rely on World Health Organization (WHO) metrics to estimate mortality from the virus, Skertsos attributed the death toll to lower-than-needed vaccination rates.

“It is extremely sad. [Many deaths] could have been avoided. Around one hundred people die on a daily basis,” he said, adding that Greece has the second oldest population in the EU bloc.

Skertsos defended authorities’ efforts to ramp up the National Health System (ESY) during the heath crisis, saying that the government raised the number of intensive care unit (ICU) beds from 557 to almost 1,300, while hiring 12,000 healthcare workers on permanent and short-term contracts.