In contrast to the speed with which we took up the previous doses of the vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, Greeks are hesitating over the fourth dose. Maybe because it’s summer and the open air makes us feel that we are better protected, many Greeks are putting off any decisions on the second booster until the fall so they can feel safer during the winter that lies ahead.
Many doctors also appear to be encouraging their patients to wait until the fall, even though cases have been rising sharply in recent weeks and will most likely keep going up the longer we continue with the relaxed summer attitude.
It is not just that people have grown weary. It is also all the speculation and talk about the different subvariants existing vaccines do not provide protection against. We’re hearing about BA.2 and BA.3, which usually cause mild symptoms and a couple of days with a moderately high fever, but we’re also hearing about BA.4 and BA.5, which are more severe.
It would be better if we had more clarity from the scientific community about whether existing vaccines are, indeed, insufficient against these strains
It would be better if we had more clarity from the scientific community about whether existing vaccines are, indeed, insufficient against these strains. Of course, it is also likely that the experts themselves are not certain. Covid-19 has shown us from the get-go that the scientists can only learn about it as it evolves.
But there is another reason why people are not eager to get the second booster. Overlooking the obvious fact that it is not mandatory, as previous doses were for specific jobs and sectors, the reason seems to lie in the fact that while transmission is high, fatalities are still low. There is a growing sense that the virus is becoming less dangerous, something we will have to live with, like the flu, and that there is no cause for real alarm except for people who have underlying health problems or vulnerabilities.
The virus is simply not as scary as it was. But, it has also shown us that it is unpredictable, so we should not be resting on our laurels. That said, we should also be able to look forward to some kind of official position, an expert recommendation, instead of doing whatever we suppose best.