Greece recognizes a certificate of vaccination with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, which will make it easier for tourists from Russia to travel and summer vacations in the country.
During a visit to Moscow, Greece’s Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis assured that the Greek National Vaccination Committee wants to include the Russian vaccine, as the equivalent of the European one, for travel.
“There is no problem for Russian citizens who have been vaccinated to arrive without screening and additional tests,” Teocharis said.
The EU digital certification regulations, which are due to be adopted soon, do not recognize vaccines that have not been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). However, it is stated that this initiative can be a country choice, as the assessment rules are flexible enough to allow EU Member States to recognize these vaccines, such as Sputnik V, bilaterally.
Greek politicians have recently argued over the Russian vaccine. Leader of the main opposition party “SYRIZA” Alexis Tsipras called on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis follow the example of other EU member states that have ordered the Russian vaccine.
However, the head of government reminded him of how such actions ended for the Slovak ex-prime minister, who was forced to resign after the outbreak of a scandal over the purchase of Russian vaccines. In addition, Mitsotakis noted, he is not sure whether there is enough Sputnik V for export, although he stressed that he is convinced of its quality:
We pressured Europe to approve Sputnik. And Europe should buy, if there is no serious doubt, that there is production capacity, and the Russian vaccine, and distribute it in the same way as other vaccines.
Tourism is a key element of the Greek economy as it provides a fifth of the country’s GDP and creates thousands of seasonal jobs a year. For example, in 2019, Greece was visited by a record number of people – about 31.3 million people.
Tourism workers will be vaccinated immediately after vulnerable groups so that they are ready for the summer season. Moreover, they will often be offered free self-tests.
Greece practically did not close the opportunity for Russian tourists to visit the country, allowing up to 500 people a week until February, and since March this number has increased to 4 thousand people. From 19 April Greece allowed tourists from Russia, EU countries and 5 other states do not pass quarantine on arrival.