The plan for Operation Blue Freedom, aimed at fully vaccinating the inhabitants of the Greek islands, was presented at a meeting on Tuesday at the residence of the Prime Minister of Greece.
“The goal is a universal and complete vaccination of the permanent residents of the islands no later than the end of June. In other words, so that we can welcome our islanders safe and completely protected from the coronavirus this summer. It is clear that this program is aimed at supporting local island communities and their economies It is nevertheless aimed at creating a positive image for our tourism, ”said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, opening a teleconference for Blue Freedom, which will vaccinate all permanent residents of the islands by the end of June.
Blue Freedom is vaccinating people over 18 years of age on 19 islands with Johnson & Johnson vaccines, with 32 completed and 36 more to be completed by the end of May. In this context, MoH forces and mobile vaccination teams are establishing new centers that will support the completion of the global campaign. The support will be provided by community organizations and mobile medical units, with financial support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, implemented by AMKE “Revival and Progress”, “Smile of a Child” and “Combination”. It is also planned to open vaccination centers in private medical centers.
“The first major shipment of Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccines will be shipped to you at the end of the month so that the first massive immunity wall can be built. Because our 19 largest islands alone are home to more than 700,000 of our fellow citizens. So this is a great opportunity that you should take advantage of. So that it is used primarily by local authorities and mobilized the vast majority of your residents in favor of vaccination. The organization of the military campaign on our islands is professional, safe and absolutely precise. Blue Freedom will develop in parallel with the national vaccination campaign, ”Kyriakos Mitsotakis also explained.
“This initiative has a cross-cutting aspect: health, social, economic, but also geostrategic in some aspects. So this is a national cause, and therefore it must be successful, because Eleftheria is doing well, and of course, for this we need your help and support, ”added the Prime Minister, addressing the 4 regional governors and mayors of 19 islands who participated in the teleconference.
“Maximum care, so we open gradually.”
“As we gradually open up economic and social activity, a lot of attention is required from everyone. So that we do not have local outbreaks, local epidemics that will force us to take local restrictive measures. I believe that we can avoid this from the moment we all act responsibly. And as inter-municipal travel opens up this weekend and the islands begin to welcome visitors from major urban centers, specific announcements will be made tomorrow. The government will notify the population on how our fellow citizens will be able to travel around Greece, especially in terms of travel to the islands and back, ”the Prime Minister said, ending his speech.
“The goal is to complete universal vaccination by the end of June in all Greek islands, with the exception of Crete. Vaccination of the islands began when we started Operation Eleftheria as a whole. We have already completed the universal vaccination on 32 islands with very good participation, and we will complete vaccinations on another 36 islands by 31/5. In this way, we will continue to vaccinate the remaining 19 islands that will remain to complete the island complex of the country, ”stressed the general secretary of primary health care Marios Themistokleous, who presented in detail the vaccination plan for the islands.
“The Prime Minister, the government is ready to support our industry and tourism, respecting the rules of public health and safety, together with the possibility of other degrees of freedom in our society,” stressed Minister of Health Vasilis Kikilias, adding: “We are as optimistic as before , we operate within the framework of the Freedom program to this day, and this program will work very well, very successfully and will become an excellent advertisement of the islands and our country abroad. “
“Considering the plan presented and the work that has been done in the past, it seems that Greece, despite the unique geophysical topography it has, is transforming being on the island from a disadvantage to an advantage thanks to the created design. As for the universal vaccination of the population within the time horizon that you have set, Mr Prime Minister. Together, the government and local governments are ready to do everything that is necessary to vaccinate all citizens, ”said Deputy Prime Minister and Government Spokesman Stelios Petsas.
“Our islands, the local economy, especially in the South Aegean Sea, are heavily dependent on the flow of tourists. The message about the security of the country as a whole is being achieved through these initiatives, especially in areas that are very popular with tourists choosing our country. “It is therefore very important for all of us to work, and especially in areas where some resistance may arise, the local government will be a valuable ally to help residents make the right decisions that will support our economy and tourism,” said Tourism Minister Harris Theocharis.
The great importance of the vaccination program for the islands was highlighted in their positions by the governors of the South Aegean regions Georgios Hatzimarkos, the North Aegean Islands by Kostas Moutzuris, the Ionian Islands by Rodis Kratz and Attica by Georgios Patulis.
The teleconference was also attended by Minister of State Georgios Gerapetritis, Deputy Prime Minister Todoris Livanios, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of coordinating the work of the government Akis Skertsos and other officials.