“We must hurry!” – this is the message of the scientific community in the middle of summer, an appeal to citizens who have not yet been vaccinated.
“We must take advantage of this time slot to vaccinate those who have not yet done so,” said Athanasios Exadaktylos, president of the Panhellenic Medical Association, shortly after the announcement of the relaxation of restrictive measures in Greece.
“Currently, only 1/3 of people over 55 are vaccinated, and the figure should rise sharply, since this is the age group most threatened by the new coronavirus,” the expert explains.
Of course, the anticipation of a vacation, great weather for sea bathing, vacations and travel can all affect the speedy decision of a country’s residents to get vaccinated (100,000 vaccinations per day).
“Perhaps the system needs to be made more flexible, for example, to cancel the fine (the period of time during which the one who canceled the vaccination cannot get the vaccine. Recall, earlier it was a month, then – 16 days, and now – 3 days). It is necessary that not a single day is lost! ”, Says the specialist.
but vaccine rejection or many people’s resistance stems from their way of thinking. “We hear the ‘let others get vaccinated’ argument all the time, which is indicative of an anti-social mentality,” he concludes.
“It is important to use summer benefitswhen weaker transmission of the virus is predicted in order to get vaccinated and significantly change the situation, thereby protecting ourselves and contributing to the rapid creation of herd immunity, ”said Ioannis Prassas, MD, MD and researcher at Mount Sinai Clinic (Canada). “We need an appropriate organization, since after a month and a half the vaccinated person acquires immunity,” the expert adds.
Making a forecast for the near future, the Greek researcher assesses the evolution of the pandemic: “Last winter was a nightmare: we did not know if the new vaccines would be effective and safe, and when they would be available for mass vaccination. Nevertheless, we had to go through this difficult time, to cope with everything. Uncertainty reigned in the health care system, which almost led it to complete collapse, ”he recalls. “Fortunately, we have largely left all of this behind,” notes Dr. Prassas with restrained optimism. “We now know that our technologies are working, and new vaccines have proven to be extremely effective and generally very safe, and there are mechanisms to track the virus’ mutations” so that we can adjust the defense system in a timely manner, if necessary. “
Thus, very difficult times have passed. “In the coming winters, especially another one or two, we will again face a seasonal outbreak of the virus, which will mainly affect the unvaccinated and some very vulnerable vaccinated.” These outbreaks will put pressure on the healthcare system, but the risk of systemic collapse will be much lower. Thanks to vaccination, the risk to public health is transformed from an “impending threat” into a “manageable seasonal problem”, with the lowest possible losses, ”the specialist said.
As with all viral infections, new waves are expected. “Even if 60-65% of the population in Greece is vaccinated by September, which is an optimistic scenario, the virus will continue to spread, as a significant proportion of citizens – vaccine deniers, children, students and others – have decided not to get vaccinated!” Explains Dr. Prassas. who lived and worked for sixteen years in Canada, where the spread of the virus is now very limited. Recently, the number of cases of the disease has been declining, as has, of course, the loss of life, due to the successful strict quarantine in the spring, as well as mass vaccinations.
“We have always known that those infected with the virus can develop long-term (chronic) health problems,” says Ioannis Prassas.
Those who have been diagnosed with coronavirus, even with very mild symptoms, and who have not yet managed to return to their normal rhythm of life, will be taken up by the medical community in the near future. “This is 2-5% of patients,” explains Dr. Prassas, who runs the research laboratory with Professor Eleftherios Diamantis.
“We’ve always known that those infected with viruses can have long-term health problems, although until recently we chalked it up to ‘chronic fatigue syndrome,’” he notes. “The coronavirus has highlighted this phenomenon sharply and with greater intensity, as the percentage of those who develop heart, neurological or psychiatric problems after four weeks after recovery is higher than those who have side effects after the virus, such as the flu or adenovirus.” , he adds.
Often these patients do not find sufficient understanding and support even from their relatives, who believe that they are exaggerating, pointing out the main cause of the illness they have suffered.
“Until now, they have not received much attention from scientists, but now we have to deal with interest and empathy, study them and investigate the mechanisms responsible for these side effects,” – said Dr. Prassas in his research paper examining the effects of covid in people who have undergone it.