Only about one-third of the population in Greece is fully inoculated, according to official data on the website emvolio.gr.
Greece has administered more than 8 million does of COVID-19 vaccines, but health officials said at least 70 percent of people living in the country must be fully protected.
The data showed the number of vaccinations reached 8,028,343 on June 26, with 3,534,001 people fully vaccinated. On that day alone, 103,090 people were vaccinated, despite a brutal heatwave.
That came as health officials said worry was rising about the spread of the Delta variant that began in India. Elias Mossialos, a former minister and Professor of Health Policy at the London School of Economics, said that it is certain that this mutation will become prevalent in Greece: the thing is how long authorities can delay the inevitable, Mossialos told Skai station.
Already a version of the Delta variant – known as Delta Plus – has raised concern among virologists. It was found in at least 22 cases in the Indian state of Maharashtra last week and could be more transmissible than the original Delta variant.
Delta variant dominant in Greece by August
Greece may see the Delta strain spread very quickly, becoming the dominant strain in the nation by the end of August, the president of the National Organization for Public Health (EODY) said on Thursday.
Panagiotis Arkoumaneas warned that Greeks need to become vaccinated in order to avoid the strain, which originated in India in late 2020, creating a massively increased case load.
Speaking to a Greek television channel named SKAI TV, Arkoumaneas said that 11 cases of the Covid-19 variant have been detected in Greece, namely in Heraklion (Crete), Athens, and Corinth.
He highlighted that the majority of these were found in Heraklion, meaning that those who live there or visit should be extra careful and make every effort to get their vaccinations.
“It is very likely that the delta variant will circulate heavily this summer,” declared ECDC Director Andrea Ammon.
She also stressed that current data suggests those who have only received one vaccination are still susceptible to infection from the Delta mutation — although she stated that a second shot offered a high level of protection.
In light of these findings, she urged people in each age cohort to obtain their second shot as soon as possible.
Existing vaccines 88% effective against Delta variant
A recent study on the part of Public Health England demonstrated that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had proven 88% effective against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant — compared with the staggering 93% effectiveness against the Alpha variant, which was the first mutation to be detected in the UK.
After just one dose, however, the vaccine only provided 33% protection against the variant, pointing to a need to get that second shot if one has already begun the vaccination process.