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Greece: Vaccinations seen extended to ages 12-15

The government is awaiting a positive recommendation by the advisory committee on vaccinations to extend the inoculation drive against the coronavirus to youngsters aged 12-15, as soon as this week.

Already, countries such as the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Japan and Italy have approved vaccination of this age group.

Vaccinating the young, even though the great majority show no serious symptoms, is considered by the government an essential tool in the fight against the virus and, especially, its mutations, given the lack of enthusiasm by a significant portion of the adult population to get vaccinated.

Another tool is making vaccinations obligatory, initially for just a few targeted groups, such as employees at care facilities for the elderly and hospitals. Legislation to that effect is expected to be introduced this week.

Officials say that the country cannot enter the autumn season with a large segment of the population still exposed to the virus. Not only because many activities move indoors then but also because the government cannot afford to prop up shuttered businesses and furloughed employees without significant damage to its finances.

Experts say, and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has often repeated, that by early September at least 70% of the adult population must have completed its vaccinations. But even this may not be enough given that evidence is emerging that even those who have completed vaccinations may need a supplementary dose after six to eight months. This means that the vaunted herd immunity that will be built will not be sufficient. Israel has already accepted this fact.

The latest data, from last Friday, show that there have been 9,560,592 vaccine doses administered and that 4,486,033 people, out of a total population of about 10.7 million, have completed their vaccinations.