While the platform has already opened for people in high-risk groups to make an appointment for a third vax jab, the health ministry will announce which other groups may be eligible for a booster shot on Monday.

“The effort is focused on vaccinating more and more citizens,” said the chief of the “Operation Freedom” vaccine rollout, Marios Themistokleous (photo), who is also the health ministry’s general secretary for primary health care.

He underlined that this is why the Committee on Vaccinations will announce on 20 September that citizens over the age of 60 will be eligible for a third dose.

“One must be vaccinated to protect one’s self and one’s loved ones, and also in order to build a wall of immunity,” Themistikleous told Parapolitika radio.

He said the main objective is to convince as many hesitant or undecided people as possible to get the jab, as vaccine deniers cannot possibly be persuaded.

He noted that the current 1,500 vaccination centres nationwide can be expanded to 2,800.

Prospect of making a third dose available to everyone

It appears that the prospect of administering a third dose to everyone will be reviewed if the epidemic worsens, according to Athens University Professor Gkikas Magiorkinis, a prominent member of and a spokesman for the National Committee on COVD-19.

“The issue of a third dose is something that we are examining. The initial data indicate that the protection the vaccines offer may be reduced by a certain – not large – percentage over time. This is a possibility, but we do not have strong evidence showing that it is actually declining substantially. Because the most important aspect of vaccination – protection from death and from having to be placed in an ICU – appears to be maintained, this [any decline] does not appear to substantially affect the general population, at least from the studies that have been published to date,” Magiorkinis told a televised news conference on 16 September.

“Hence, we are in a transitional stage in which we must ascertain to what extent the third dose would be useful for the general population at this stage of the pandemic. It may possibly be useful if there is a flare up of the pandemic to administer booster shots. This discussion focuses on reducing the RT,” he concluded.

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