COVID19: Focus on jabs ahead of winter wave

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Authorities will focus on encouraging people over 60, especially those in nursing homes, to get an updated booster vaccination to prepare for a probable new COVID-19 wave this winter.

These were among the decisions taken by the coronavirus Scientific Advisory Committee and Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela.

“Recently, there has been an increase in cases and hospitalisations,” the Hadjipantela said after Wednesday’s meeting to examine the country’s epidemiological outlook.

It was also decided to launch a vaccination programme in mountain communities, which was a success last year.

Take-up on the second booster vaccination has been lower than expected, with only 20.8% over 60 getting the fourth jab.

The government is worried that a new wave during the colder months will see hospital admissions spike among the elderly.

A newsletter will be sent to GPs about administering antiviral drugs that “do not seem to be administered in time”, said the minister.

He also said that GPs would be informed so they can advise their patients over 60 and vulnerable patients that they should be vaccinated with the fourth dose to prevent more hospitalisations.

Hadjipantela said that his ministry monitors the situation daily and is “not complacent”.

He called on everyone to observe personal hygiene measures and to get vaccinated with the fourth dose against coronavirus.

Scientist George Nikolopoulos said there was “no need to panic”, but that vigilance was needed.