Greece is aiming to vaccinate all island residents, regardless of population, it emerged on Tuesday, during a meeting of local representatives with Greece’s PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The meeting on Tuesday is meant to provide a plan to getting to the goal of universal vaccination on all inhabited Greek islands by June 25th. It will reportedly be attended by Mitsotakis, as well as the Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Marios Themistocleous.
Additionally, representatives from island local governments will be in attendance, either in person or through teleconference.
Greece to fully vaccinate all islands
This new program which aims to vaccinate all islanders follows the success of the current vaccination scheme on islands with under 10,000 residents, which has been in full swing since April. The scheme involves inoculating all residents, regardless of age, on 85 islands in Greece which fall under the population threshold.
The goal through the combination of all Greece is doing to vaccinate islands is clearly meant to save the 2021 tourism season.
According to government programs, vulnerable people are continually prioritized, but tourism workers will be next to be vaccinated.
Tourism workers’ vaccinations depend on how quickly the vulnerable people in their areas are inoculated. There will also be self-tests available for tourism workers while they await their coronavirus vaccinations.
Once the vaccination of tourism workers begins, it will be a relatively quick three-week process.
Greece’s Tourism Minister: “The whole country is safe”
Part of the plan for summer tourism is to project the message that the whole country is safe for tourists. Greece’s Tourism Minister, Harry Theocharis, warned against promoting specific areas or islands as “Covid-free,” as he claims this is not a sound tourism strategy.
Tourism could be threatened for several reasons if the narrative of a “Covid-free” area is pushed, Theoharis reasons. The government’s solution is to promote the whole country as being safe for tourists to arrive this summer.
The newest addition to the government’s “Operation Freedom” is the plan to vaccinate the inhabitants of all islands.
These islands traditionally lure tourists from all over the world to Greece, and the campaign is an important effort to bolster one of the most important economic sectors in Greece.
Santorini to do well this year
Summer of 2021 looks much brighter for the beautiful island which boasts an active volcano, probably the only volcano in the world whose crater is in the sea, and the most romantic sunset in the world.
Antonis Sigalas, the mayor of the idyllic Greek island, says that Summer 2021 would be much better compared to the previous year, when the coronavirus lockdown and restrictions on foreign travel kept the number of visitors low, compared to previous years.
“We have realized that we need to create a Covid-free local society too,” he says.
Until May 10, 8,000 locals have already been vaccinated. The process is picking up speed. “Only a few weeks ago we administered about 80 doses per day. Now the number has gone up to 220. In a few days we would be ale to vaccinate 300 people per day,” Sigalas notes.
Until the middle of June, the vast majority of the local population will be vaccinated. “Santorini would become a Covid-safe island.”