The restrictions imposed on movement because of the coronavirus pandemic have affected preventative medicine, National Vaccination Committee President Maria Theodoridou said on Monday, as there are indications parents and children are not following up with non-coronavirus vaccinations.
At a live briefing on Monday, Theodoridou said that vaccines for influenza, pneumococcus, herpes zoster, HPV and others could be done 14 days before or 14 days after a coronavirus shot.
She also explained that Pfizer’s vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 was approved for people over 16 years of age, therefore some children with serious health issues could safely receive it. For the general population of children, their turn to receive the coronavirus vaccine is still a long way off and not under consideration right now, she added.
In terms of Pfizer’s vaccine, Theodoridou said that it appears to remain stable at higher temperatures like those in a household refrigerator, but the FDA in the United States is reviewing the new data. Approval will mean it will be easier to tranport and store it, she said. Studies of 9,000 Israeli health workers who received it showed a rate of effectiveness surpassing 85 percent in 15 to 28 days following the first of two shots.
It also showed that in 75 pct of cases it prevented asymptomatic illness from developing as well. “If this rate of reducing asymptomatic carriers is confirmed, we shall enter a new era in terms of vaccine effectiveness,” the committee head said.
The novel coronavirus “can cohabit with us the next few years without threatening us, because it will have become native but harmless through natural contraction and vaccines,” she underlined.
Asked to respond to cases of allergic reaction to the shots, Theodoridou said that “there were five anaphylactic reactions due to allergy that were remedied successfully,” and a case that is under investigation.
720,000 vaccinations nationally
At least 720,000 citizens have been inoculated in Greece, with 30,000 vaccinations carried out on Monday alone, said Health Secretary General for Primary Health Care Marios Themistokleous at the briefing.
Themistokleous also expected that the Greek population would reach a very good immunity rate by Easter (starting end of April).
Greece rates fourth in the EU with its 1,420,000 booked inoculation appointments, of which 720,000 are scheduled for the month of March, when it is expected that Greece will surpass 1.5 million inoculations, he added.
Themistokleous also noted that another 120,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were delivered to Greece on Monday.
At least 100,000 citizens aged 80-84 have received the first dose of the vaccine, with another 110,000 appointments pending; this means that 50 pct of this age group nationwide has been successfully vaccinated, he added.
Asked by reporters when vaccination may be made available to people unable to leave their homes, Themistokeous noted that this depends on “a more convenient vaccine.”
Finally, some 4,000 people who had missed their appointments owing to last week’s snowstorms were vaccinated exceptionally on Sunday, as the inoculations only take place during business days.