The AstraZeneca vaccine should not be given to those under sixty in Greece, the National Vaccination Committee announced on Monday.
The president of the committee, Maria Theodoridou, spoke after the meeting which was held to analyze the course of the vaccination campaign in Greece.
AstraZeneca vaccine not suitable for under 60s
Currently, the vaccine is offered to those over 30; however newest guidelines outline that people wishing to become vaccinated with the AstraZeneca product should be over the age of 60.
Theodoridou stressed that those who have already had the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccination should get their second dose as well — regardless of age — in order to be considered fully inoculated. This is because the side effects are extremely rare following the second dose.
The only case in which people should take a different vaccine for their second dose is if they have experienced severe side effects from the first dose.
When asked about this recommendation, Theodoridou reiterated that “those who have taken the first dose will continue with the same vaccine for the second dose.”
She continued by stating that “those who want to change due to fear, should think very seriously about it,” as doctors will not recommend using a combination of vaccines unless there is a significant reason to do so.
However, for those under 60 who have booked a vaccination slot for their first dose of AstraZeneca but have not received it yet, it is recommended they replace that appointment with one using one of the other three available vaccines.
Theodoridou clarified that this recent decision by the National Vaccination Committee was based on epidemiological data, as Greece’s daily new coronavirus cases seem to be on the decline. Due to this new landscape, the benefit of having more vaccines available no longer outweighs the risks associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“The committee made this decision as there is an adequate amount of vaccines in Greece and the epidemiology of the country is good, as there is a steady decrease in cases,” Theodoridou pointed out.
She continued by noting that “vaccinations are proceeding very quickly, gradually building the wall of immunity,” adding that “recommendations can be updated with the latest data”.
Coronavirus cases in Greece steadily decreasing
Just three of Monday’s total cases was identified during routine Covid-19 testing of tourists at the country’s borders.
Currently, there are 353 patients with the coronavirus on ventilators in Greece, which is five fewer than the number of patients undergoing the invasive treatment in the country yesterday, Sunday.