Greek health authorities have approved AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine for people aged 65 and older.
“It is safe, it creates an immune response, and is efficient and protects all those vaccinated,” the president of Greece’s National Vaccine Committee Maria Theodoridou said.
Greece had previously said there was not enough research to green light the vaccine for older people, but has changed its position following the widespread use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the United Kingdom as well as recently published studies.
“According to the first study, there was an 85% reduction in hospital admissions when using the Pfizer vaccine and 94% reduction when using the AstraZeneca vaccine. One dose of the vaccine was enough to decrease the rate of admissions,” she said.
The second study is from the UK and has a sample size of 7,500,000 people. “This case reinforces the efficacy of the vaccine on those aged over 70.”
Theodoridou stressed its importance in reducing the rate of hospital admissions as well as reducing the severity of symptoms in patients.
Latest covid-19 numbers in Greece
Greece recorded 1,165 new cases of COVID-19 in the latest 24-hour reporting period.
This raises the total number of cases to 206,281.
Four hundred and seventy-seven individuals are in ICU. Their median age is 68 years. 84.5% have an underlying condition or are aged 70 years and above.
The number of new Covid-19 patients in hospitals in the last 24 hours is 337 (daily change: -21.45 pct), while the rolling average of hospital admissions in the last seven days is 367 patients.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,416 patients have been discharged from the ICU.
The country’s pandemic death toll stands at 6,797. The median age of all was 79 years and 95.7% of the deceased had an underlying condition and/or age of 70 years or more.
All individuals residing in Greece will be required to send an SMS text message to 13033 in order to obtain permission to leave their homes during the lockdown.
The SMS to 13033 should be formatted as follows: X (one of the digits 1-6 corresponding to the activities below), name, surname and address.
The six reasons (you must SMS) are:
- Visit to a pharmacy or visit to a doctor if necessary
- Visit to a supermarket or stores for essential supplies
- Visit to a bank if e-banking transactions are not possible
- Visit to people needing assistance or escorting children to and from school
- Attending a funeral, as per the conditions provided by the law, or visiting children in case of divorced parents
- Physical exercise outdoors or up to two persons taking their pet for a walk while always observing a 1.5-metre distance.
Individuals are not allowed to travel beyond 2 kilometres of their home to visit supermarkets, food stores and other essential goods shops or to go to the bank.
Similarly, personal exercise or pet walking must be carried out close to one’s home.