Greek health authorities announced that Covid-19 vaccines for teens 12 and over is now available in Greece, with the appointment platform for them going online as of Friday.
All vaccine appointments for teens can now be made from the platform at emvolio.gov.gr using Taxisnet codes. Appointments can be made by any parent who belongs to the same household as the child.
In addition, the youngster’s appointment can be booked at the citizen service centre (KEP) or in any pharmacy in Greece.
All minors must be accompanied at the vaccination centers by their parent or guardian.
European Union split in agreeing on efficacy, need for vaccines for teens
At present, European countries appear to be evenly split regarding the administration of coronavirus vaccines to teenagers.
As the fourth wave of coronavirus spreads across the continent — at the height of a tourist season that was hoped to restore the fortunes of tourism-dependent countries — Sixteen nations, including France and Italy, are now vaccinating minors over the age of 12 or plan to start in the near future.
A total of 17 countries in Europe have either decided against this practice or will only inoculate teenagers if they suffer from serious underlying health conditions.
At the end of July, another four countries remain undecided on the practice.
Whether or not to vaccinate children is an increasingly a hot topic in Europe as the spikes in confirmed coronavirus cases in some countries are continuing, thanks to the Delta variant, which was first detected in India.
Fourth wave of coronavirus tearing across France
The French government warned recently that France is seeing the more contagious Delta variant spreading fast across the country. “The risk of a rapid fourth wave is here,” said government spokesman Gabriel Attal at a media briefing earlier this month.
France is now in its fourth wave of COVID-19, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Wednesday, while vaccine hesitancy remains a problem there.
Castex said the 18,181 new cases recorded in the 24 hours to Tuesday afternoon represented a 140% jump on the previous week and claimed that 96% of these new infections were observed in unvaccinated people.
“We are in the fourth wave,” Castex told TF1 news. “The infamous Delta variant is here, it is here, it is the majority (of cases) and what characterises it from those that preceded it is that it is much more contagious.
“We must react and at the same time, the key is known, it is not completely new but the contagiousness of this Delta variant obliges us even more, we must vaccinate,” he said.
Eleven French regions are reporting that infection rates have jumped over the past seven days. France has been one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, counting 111,795 coronavirus-related deaths so far.
As of July 30, a total of 53.6% of all French people have been fully vaccinated, according to government health authorities. However, much like in the United States and elsewhere, France is battling vaccine hesitancy.
Last month, the country made teenagers eligible for the Covid-19 vaccination, but widespread vaccine hesitancy in the country remains a problem.
Risks vs benefits of coronavirus vaccines for teens
According to a study by the British scientific journal The Lancet, undertaken in seven countries and published in March, fewer than two out of every million children have died because of the coronavirus.
Many of those who remain opposed to the vaccination of teenagers say that the risks of adverse reactions — including reported heart inflammation episodes, which disappeared even with no treatment — still outweigh the benefits.
On its part, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), notes the important considerations for national public health authorities in the EU to consider when inoculating minors.
It maintains that adolescents would most likely experience few direct benefits from becoming inoculated, although it added that giving the shot to youngsters would of course increase overall population immunity, reducing the spread of the virus and its variants.
Andrea Ammon, the ECDC director, said in a press statement “As vaccination rollout progresses, we are arriving at the stage where vaccination of younger age groups such as adolescents needs to be considered.”
The European medical regulatory body says that factors guiding national health authorities in the bloc should include the incidence of the coronavirus in their populations at any given time. Agreeing with World Health Organization rulings, the ECDC says that countries should bear in mind that there still is a shortage of vaccines on the global scale for poor and developing nations.
Some of these countries have had very little success inoculating even their adult population until now.
The WHO maintains that it is more necessary at present to donate vaccines to developing countries so that they can finally inoculate their own adults who are at a much higher risk, and that it is less urgent to vaccinate teenagers and children, who are much less likely to suffer serious disease.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus earlier this year said that the prioritization of low-risk groups, such as children, in wealthy countries was a “moral catastrophe.
“I understand why some countries want to vaccinate their children and adolescents, but right now I urge them to reconsider, and to instead donate vaccines,” he stated.
However, the goodwill that may have been part of a response to that plea has dried up for the most part, as the Delta variant races across the Continent and the world, especially as it is so much more transmissible.
Reaching herd immunity in the countries of the EU is still not happening at the present time although the continent enjoys a higher rate of vaccination than the US as of this week. Epidemiologists now say that 80% of any population must be vaccinated for herd immunity to occur.
European governments move against vaccine hesitancy
Some European medical experts are still occupied by safety concerns regarding the vaccines, stating that more studies must be done to get a complete picture of the risks of inoculation for young people.
Calum Semple, a professor of child health at Britain’s University of Liverpool and an adviser to the British government, said in an interview that he is still not persuaded that the evidence is strong enough to support vaccination of teenagers. His opinion is that not only are they at a very low risk for the virus, but also “we don’t have complete safety data for the vaccines.”
Britain, like Germany, is currently vaccinating teenagers but only if they have serious health conditions. The government has still not made a decision on whether or not all teenagers should receive inoculations.
Britain’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, which advises the British government, will report soon on whether teenagers as a whole should receive shots, but reportedly it is leaning against that concept, fearing even the very rare side effects which have occurred in teens in other nations, including the US.
However, according to recent polls, British parents overwhelmingly desire vaccinations for their children, hoping in part that this will stop the ongoing disruptions in schooling.
Great Britain’s Office for National Statistics showed in a recent survey that nine out of ten parents would “definitely” or “probably” vaccinate their children if the shots were available to them, with only 4% of parents objecting to the practice,