The end of the health crisis is approaching and progress on the pandemic front will depend on the progress of vaccinations, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in statements during his meeting with visiting European Commissioner for for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides on Tuesday.
The prime minister stressed that more than 7.5 million Covid-19 vaccine shots have been done in Greece so far but warned that "from now on, especially as we get nearer to July, the problem will not be the availability of vaccines so much as the willingness of our remaining citizens to get vaccinated. Younger age groups, which must also be persuaded to take part in the vaccination process; this is something I attach great importance to."
The prime minister, after thanking the European Commission for the supply and distribution of vaccines to all member-states based on their population, stressed that the most important thing that there were sufficient vaccines for the winter, "for the next year, in case there is need, which seems quite possible, for a booster shot for the entire population."
On her part, the Commissioner said: "I had the opportunity today to visit a vaccination centre, we also had a discussion with the Health Minister on issues related to the vaccination programme. It is extremely important for us that the vaccination programme, as you said, be carried out in all the member states. We are in a - I would say - fragile phase of the pandemic where we have many reasons to be optimistic with the vaccines we have, but there can certainly be no complacency."
Kyriakides also thanked Mitsotakis for supporting the European Health Union and for all the proposals made. "It is obvious that we will have to proceed with structural changes, so that we can face possible future crises. For us, the primary goal is to continue together in the same way as we have done so far with the vaccine strategy. We have already announced a strategy for treatment programmes, so that access to treatment is available for all member-states, regardless of size. As with the vaccines, we have already signed an agreement with one company for 2022-2023 and it was concluded last night and a second agreement with another company for vaccines for 2022 - 2023 and we will move forward again with a portfolio that will protect us, especially as regards mutations. In all member-states, what we are seeing today is, I would say, a decline in the number of coronavirus cases, fortunately in hospitalisations, but at the same time we are watching very closely the evolution of mutations, especially the Delta variant, which is currently causing problems, as you know, in the United Kingdom. That is why I really want to express my thanks and those of the Commission and the President for all the support from Greece throughout this difficult year and a half and we will be by your side so that we can move forward together to emerge from the pandemic as soon as possible."