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Greeks Will Be Wearing Masks Until 2022 Health Official Says

Greek health official Vana Papaevangelou predicts Greeks will be wearing masks into 2022. Credit: Greek Reporter

A Greek health official stated recently that Greeks most likely will be wearing masks against transmission of the coronavirus until 2022.

Vana Papevangelou, a member of the country’s Committee of Experts of the Ministry of Health, stated that, considering the current coronavirus situation in Greece, opening up travel within the country is too great a risk at present.

However, the current epidemiological landscape may change over the next two weeks and the issue will be taken up again at that time.

“At least until today, neither the focus nor the movement from prefecture to prefecture for the Easter holidays has been discussed by the committee of experts,” Papaevangelou stated to reporters.

Pascha coronavirus measures not addressed as of yet

“No one has suggested it to us and we have not discussed it at all,” Papaevangelou added.

She noted that using the data available from Greece’s national heath authority, “most of the spread at this time is from outdoor gatherings.”

Appearing to address the recent spat regarding a prominent epidemiologist who resigned from Greece’s medicine regulatory authority due to disagreements over the way vaccine information was handled, Papaevangelou told interviewers “We are scientists, we discuss, we argue and sometimes we disagree, but we respect each other’s opinion.”

Dr. Panagiotis Vlachogiannopoulos, a university professor who was a member of the country’s drug regulatory authority the National Organization for Medicines, or EOF, resigned recently after the death of a 63-year-old woman who had recently been inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Vlachogiannopoulos, a professor of immunology, left the drug regulatory agency after sending his colleagues there a bombshell letter protesting the irregularities involved in the reporting of the woman’s death.

In the letter, the immunologist sharply criticized the behavior of the Greek Minister of Health and his former colleagues at the EOF — while still leaving a few tips for the way in which the committee should carry out its work in the future, without him.

Dr. Vlachogiannis served on the Pharmacovigilance Committee of the Greek drug regulatory agency. There have been scattered reports all over Europe of deaths and blood clotting in those who had just received the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed by the British/Swedish AstraZeneca pharmaceutical company, in conjunction with Oxford University.

The professor of immunology, who emphasizes that he is still an ardent supporter of vaccines, directly accuses the committee of a lack of courage to highlight possible problems in coronavirus vaccines — and especially the AstraZeneca product.

“It will be with us in ’21 — ’22” — even with masks

But she had dire warnings for the Greek public when it comes to what to expect for the Autumn and Winter of 2021/22, saying “I think we will have an issue with the coronavirus next winter as well.”

“It will be with us in ’21 -’22, but it will definitely be a different picture because we will have advanced the vaccinations and we will be much better,” she stated.

However, she cautioned against any feelings of complacency, adding “My feeling is that we will not take off masks before 2022.”

Asked if teenagers over 12 may be vaccinated within the next six months, Papaevangelou stated that she believes this will be possible.

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