Vaccination campaigns have begun on Greek islands with up to 10,000 inhabitants — including all those living there, irrespective of age — according to an announcement from the government on Thursday.
A total of 85 islands encircling Greece will soon see all their residents vaccinated against the coronavirus ahead of the planned reopening of the country on May 14.
The plan for reopening calls for all the Greek islands — magnets for international travelers — to be covid-free destinations.
The move will on the one hand speed up the vaccination campaigns ongoing around the nation and bring the deeply-desired herd immunity point closer. Of course the knowledge that the Greek islands are basically Covid-free will be a significant advantage for the country on the worldwide stage.
Government vaccination program ahead of schedule
At the beginning of the vaccination campaign, the Greek health authorities’ plans included the vaccination of all those living on 69 islands with a population of up to 5,000 inhabitants by the end of April.
Now the inoculation program will be extended to include all Greek islands having up to 10,000 inhabitants, which will mean a total of 85.
The intake of vaccine doses to Greece in May and June from both Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer will contribute significantly to the implementation of this ambitious plan.
Reports say that the doses to be received from Pfizer/BioNTech alone will add up to 1,500,000 for the next to months.
Back in March, a total of eighteen Greek islands were declared Covid-free destinations after their inhabitants were either fully vaccinated or had received at least the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
This map displays the number of Greeks who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus across the entire country:
Lists of Greek islands whose residents have received at least one dose
The following is a list of all the Greek islands where residents have now received the second dose of vaccine:
The islands whose residents have received the first dose are the following:
The vaccination program will not only ensure that the Greek islands, destination points for those coming from all over the globe — will be as Covid-free as possible but their status will help ensure that they will not act to disperse the virus amongst the nation’s general population as well.
Yesterday, Britain’s Daily Mail heaped praise on the Greek government for its firm hold on the vaccination campaign around the country, especially where it concerns the islands and areas that are tourist magnets for the British.
The paper emphasized that as soon as the UK opens up its own borders to outbound travelers on May 17, as many as 60 islands will be considered Covid-free islands.
The newspaper reported that Greece will even ensure that the tiniest Greek islands will be safe to explore by the end of May — including those without airports. The first of such islands to benefit from the ambitious general vaccination program is the island group of Kastelorizo.
Daily Mail report stresses “Sun, sea and comfortable atmosphere” of Greek islands
The vaccination push for the Greek islands also includes Halki, Symi and Tilos.
On Lipsi in the Dodecanese archipelago, almost the entire population of 800 inhabitants has already been vaccinated. On Fourni, which lies in the eastern Aegean, all the inhabitants will have been vaccinated by the end of April.
“The Greek islands have never been more tempting,” the Mail writes. “Always popular with British tourists looking for their share of Mamma Mia: sun, sea and comfortable atmosphere.”
The inoculation program, which has been codenamed “Operation Freedom,” aims to vaccinate additional islands by mid-May, with Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis telling reporters “the country plans to welcome the British with open arms.”
Fully thirteen percent of Greek citizens have received at least the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine at present.
Emy Anagnostopoulou, director of the Hellenic National Tourism Organization, says “It is a complex operation, the acquisition of vaccines on remote islands that do not have airports, but is done with the help of helicopters and military flights.
“By the end of April, 69 or 70 islands will have been fully vaccinated – these are 61 small and medium-sized islands with up to 3,500 inhabitants, as well as some larger ones,” she noted to reporters.
Naturally, the inoculation program also calls for vaccinations for all employees in the tourism industry, including those who work on ferries, bar staff, taxi drivers and waiters.