“Right now we are dealing with a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Those who are in danger are the unvaccinated and especially those who are over 60 years old “: these were the two messages sent by the Minister of State ‘Akis Skertsos, during his interview on the radio station” Real FM “, he even referred to three numbers: “9 out of 10 coronavirus deaths affect people over the age of 60. 8 out of 10 ICU hospitalizations concern people over 60 years of age. “Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 people who are over 60 years old and are hospitalized in the ICU are not vaccinated”.
Therefore, “we have a pandemic of the unvaccinated and that is where we must focus our efforts on convincing those who still think, fear, hesitate. We will not convince hard-core vaccinators who either believe that there is no pandemic or that the vaccine is harmful to humans. “We have to go to the micro level and mobilize all the forces we have at the level of scientists, social networks, at the level of people who have influence and credibility in their public speech.” After all, he added, “the economy will not close for 1/3 of the people who have not been vaccinated, the burden on the health system has been proven to be much lower: thanks to vaccination we currently have 2 to 3 times fewer hospitalizations, ICU and deaths “.
Rejecting the allegations of inconsistencies in the government’s public discourse on where the burden of vaccination should fall, he explained: “There is the possibility of vaccination and children, but everyone’s effort should be focused on those people who have higher risk of serious disease and have not been vaccinated. Children do not have this risk, they will get the vaccine because their parents believe it and because they want to protect themselves, their classmates and teachers, those who are close to them. Those at risk for coronavirus are those over 60. Of course, we also encourage children to be vaccinated based on the recommendations of the National Vaccination Committee, but the problem is not the children. The problem is those over 60, that’s where we have to focus the persuasion effort “.
Elsewhere in the interview, the minister underlined that at the moment 6.4 million citizens have taken at least one dose, ie about 67% of Greeks, which is “a high percentage compared to the goal we had set at first”. However, given that “the pandemic is a dynamic situation that is constantly evolving and the” Delta “mutation in particular, is transmitted faster, easier, is more dangerous, we must achieve higher levels of immunity.”
In any case “we have about 7.5 million citizens who have natural or artificial immunity, 3 out of 4 Greeks have been shielded from the coronavirus” (s.s. out of the 6.4 million vaccinated citizens, A. Skertsos added and an estimated 1 million who have become ill). And he concluded, “overall it is a high percentage, we have to do even better. “So the leveling that is heard from the opposition or some people who speak in public does not correspond to reality.”
With regard to the booster dose in particular, the Minister referred to the recommendation of the National Vaccination Committee, which has decided to make this dose in the most vulnerable categories, people over 60 years of age, the immunosuppressed and the people working in the area. and who are more exposed to the virus. He even estimated that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will proceed with the approval, “it will do, as we have been informed, at the end of September or in October, the European procedures are sometimes delayed”, he added, adding that “the corresponding The United States EMA has approved mRNA vaccines and booster doses.
Given the opportunity, he stressed once again that “the lockdown is out of the table, we are in a new phase of the pandemic, where we live with the virus. There is no way the economy, society, education can be shut down again “and referred to the usefulness of other measures, such as” mass, extensive testing in all workplaces (…) we can detect the virus faster, at the source and isolate cases. “Living with the virus is a normality until we reach even higher levels of immunity.”