Nearly 40,000 lives have been saved thanks to COVID-19 vaccines, according to infectious disease expert Sotiris Tsiodras. “Since the start of the pandemic and until April 2022, 39,000 deaths have been averted via vaccination in Greece,” said Tsiodras during a conference in Athens on Thursday. The professor of medicine and infectious diseases at Athens University and chief scientific advisor for the COVID-19 pandemic for the Greek Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the government, stressed that “three doses are better than two.” Speaking at the conference organised by the Hellenic Society for Infectious Diseases, Tsiodras also noted, however, that vaccination coverage has been uneven, warning that this “facilitates the emergence of new strains.” Sotiris Tsiodras. “It is hard to predict the future, but we cannot rule out variants that are more transmissible and more able to evade vaccine protection,” he said. On a more positive note, Tsiodras said that Greece can expect a relatively calm summer in pandemic terms due to widespread Covid inoculation and recovery from the virus. “The hybrid immunity achieved in this country and in Europe, in combination with the good weather, will help us control and reduce the epidemic into the fall,” he said. When speaking about masks, he said "There is no reason to remove the mask in places such as hospitals, pharmacies, public transport." Tsiodras pointed out that in the future it will be a free and conscious choice to wear a mask, but strongly suggested that those in high-risk groups continue wearing it. Greece confirmed 8,015 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, the National Public Health Organisation (EODY) said on Wednesday, bringing all confirmed infections since the pandemic began to 3,343,565. Thirty two people infected with Covid-19 died in the last 24 hours and there were 231 Covid-19 patients on ventilators. Of the daily total, the number of possible reinfections in the last 24 hours was 660, while the total number of reinfections since the pandemic began was estimated at 124,363 (3.6% pct of the total positive results). The latest deaths increased the total number of pandemic victims to 29,284. Of these, 95.5 pct had an underlying condition and/or were aged 70 or over. The median age of the 231 patients on ventilators was 71 years and 93.1 pct had an underlying condition and/or were aged 70 or over. Of the total, 119 (51.52 pct) were unvaccinated or partly vaccinated and 112 (48.48 pct) were fully vaccinated. In total, 4,614 patients have been discharged from ICUs since the pandemic began. In addition, 155 Covid-19 patients were admitted to hospital in the last 24 hours (daily change: +15.67 pct). The average admission of patients with Covid-19 to hospitals over the last seven days was 162. The median age of new infections was 36 years old (range: 0.2 to 112 years), while the median age of the deceased was 79 years old (range: 0.2 to 106 years). READ MORE: Denmark first country to suspend its COVID-19 vaccination program.