Update – 21/09/2021
September 21, 2021
September 21, 2021
As of the latest update by the Greek authorities, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 diagnosed cases in Greece 632,908. 39 new deaths were reported raising the total number to 14,505. The number of patients treated in intensive care units is currently 342. 2,126 new cases were announced yesterday in Greece. 369 of the new cases were found in the Attica region and 341 new cases in the Thessaloniki region.
With about 56.7% of the Greek population fully vaccinated, health authorities have recommended that groups at high risk of infection, such as people over the age of 60, the elderly at care units, as well as health professionals, should be administered a third booster dose of their coronavirus vaccine.
However, Marios Themistokleous, secretary general in charge of vaccinations, said the third shot will not be mandatory, announcing that the relevant platform to book an appointment will open on September 30.
Furthermore, the president of the National Vaccination Committee, Maria Theodoridou, said the third dose will be administered six to eight months after the second shot.
“Vaccines are effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death,” she said as health authorities race against time to increase the percentage of those vaccinated to 70% in an attempt to build wide immunity against the virus.
“Antibodies as an indicator of the immune response decrease over time, five to six months after vaccination,” she said, stressing that this consideration, combined with the emergence of the Delta variant, poses “a risk to a number of individuals.”
Those at risk, she noted, are those who did not develop antibodies when they were first vaccinated (immunosuppressed individuals, transplants), and therefore the booster shot has the character of a supplementary dose.
The second group of individuals at risk are those for whom factors such as age and others (underlying diseases) lead to reduced antibodies, while the third group consists of people most exposed to the virus.
“The National Committee gave a positive opinion first for the immunocompromised,” she said, noting that older people at care units and people over the age of 60 are next in line. She also stressed that “the increased risk in people over 60 is reflected in epidemiological data.” More specifically, “the percentage age distribution of patients aged 60-79 years in special ICU beds reached 59.02% and 48% respectively in deaths.”
“We see a significant burden at this age,” she said, adding, “The group over 60 has the criteria to show that it needs reinforcement with a third dose.”
With regard to the possibility of administering a booster shot to the general population, she contended that data from relevant studies are expected before decisions are made.
The union representing public hospital workers has called for a six-hour strike on Tuesday in protest at the mandatory vaccination of healthcare staff against Covid-19.
POEDIN has called on members to walk off the job from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and to hold protest rallies at 11 a.m., gathering in front of the Health Ministry in Athens, the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry in the northern port city of Thessaloniki and at the entrance of their respective hospitals elsewhere.
In an announcement on Monday, POEDIN said that forcing healthcare workers to get the shot has been counterproductive as it increased reactions to the vaccine.
It added that the suspension of healthcare workers who have refused to get the jab has led to a shortage of at least 7,000 members of staff in the public health system.
In more detail, the 2,126 new cases detected per Regional Unit: