Greece joins ‘Big Catch-Up’

Greece joins ‘Big Catch-Up’

Greece has joined the “Big Catch-Up” campaign led by the World Health Organization to counter a slump in vaccinations since the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Over 100 countries have seen a decline in essential immunization levels, leading to outbreaks of preventable diseases such as measles, diphtheria, polio and yellow fever. In 2021 alone, according to UNICEF, some 25 million children missed out on vaccinations. In Europe, during the same year, according to WHO, 1.2 million children were not vaccinated against measles.

Speaking at a press conference in Athens Tuesday, Andreas Konstantopoulos, president of the Hellenic Pediatric Society, reported a 60% decrease in vaccinations in Greece for children up to 5 years old and a 95% decrease in jabs for adolescents compared to the period before the pandemic. He noted that the problem in Greece currently remains mainly with adolescents, as children’s vaccinations seem to have returned to normal levels.

Paraskevi Katsaounou, assistant professor of pulmonary medicine at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, also emphasized the importance of vaccines for adults, especially those with respiratory diseases. The expert suggested administering the new pneumococcal vaccine to adults who have not yet been vaccinated, and also to those who have already completed their full vaccination course (as a booster dose, five years later). Furthermore, she advised revaccinating adults against whooping cough, particularly for individuals with pre-existing health conditions. 

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