Greek authorities’ decision to recommend a second COVID-19 booster shot for individuals over thirty was criticized by a leading health specialist on Friday.
The current recommendation for a second booster shot for people aged 30 to 59 who do not belong to the vulnerable groups “is not accompanied by the necessary documentation,” Elias Mossialos, Professor of Health Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), has posted on Facebook.
Greece’s National Vaccination Committee reiterated a “strong recommendation” that those aged 60 and over get a second booster shot. Appointments for that age category have been available since early April this year.
“Insufficient” data in Greece on COVID-19 booster shot
“The committee said ‘that there is currently insufficient scientific data on the additional benefit of a second booster shot with existing vaccines.’ If there is not enough scientific data, then the recommendation should not be made at this time,” Mossialos said.
“Some have indicated that those who are afraid will be able to get the fourth dose,” he explained. He added that “of course, this is not a sufficient reason to justify a policy, especially when there is insufficient documentation.”
“Public health decisions and medical decisions must be based on documentation and systematic data analysis,” he added.
“In our country we need to have sufficient data on the percentage of our compatriots who have adequate immunoprotection,” Mossialos said in criticizing the decision of the health authorities. “This can be done by random sampling in the general population. So we can draw safer conclusions about the possible effects of the pandemic in the coming months but also about the need for booster shots.”
COVID-19 infections on the rise
The announcement by the National Vaccination Committee came as the number of new daily infections has been rising in June.
Greece confirmed 10,474 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours on Thursday. Moreover, seventeen deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, and 88 patients were on ventilators in hospitals nationwide.
The Greek national healthcare system is neither currently under pressure from the coronavirus nor is expected to be under pressure for the duration of the summer, Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris said on Wednesday in an interview with national broadcaster ERT.