Covid vaccines that have been updated to protect people against hospitalization and death from the Omicron variant of the virus are expected to be approved by the end of the month.
If they do get the green light in August, the new vaccines will be available to the public by the fall, Health Minister Thanos Plevris told Skai Radio on Friday, adding that they will be further updated a bit later to include protection against the subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.
Pfizer and Moderna are working on boosters that target Omicron as well as older variants. Plevris said Greece has arranged its orders for the third quarter of the year in order to ensure a sufficient supply of the updated shots.
Asked about the course of the current wave of the pandemic in Greece, Plevris appeared confident that numbers will ease through the month, before climbing back up again in September.
He estimated that by September there will be a stronger recommendation for vaccination of people aged over 60 and those in high-risk groups for serious disease. He added that there may be a recommendation for vaccination of the general population, depending on the decisions of the competent European agencies.
Referring to the high death rate of patients with Covid in Greece, he said more analysis in the way the National Organization for Public Health (EODY) presents the relevant data will be undertaken so it can be ascertained how many fatalities are actually due to the disease.
Plevris reiterated that Greece continues to record deaths based on the World Health Organization definition, which includes any person infected with the coronavirus who dies, regardless of whether the death had another cause.
Most countries in Europe classify only those deaths for which the virus is responsible as caused by Covid.