A member of the expert commission of the Greek Ministry of Health, Professor of Epidemiology Gikas Maiorkinis spoke about new vaccines and the epidemiological situation in the country.
The professor explained, quotes him CNN Greece:
“These doses are booster doses, they are not core doses, and it would logically suggest that you get vaccinated once a year, as is done for influenza. We believe that this is sufficient protection for a year. The specific type that will be available now is different” “Omicron 1. That is, it is a twin of the existing vaccine with a basic composition, but with an element of Omicron 1.”
Gikas Majorkinis said that by the end of the month, Greece will receive updated vaccines for Omicron 4 and 5, but not both, but one of them. In addition, citizens at risk should not delay vaccination and wait, it is better to make the vaccine available now with drugs:
“We can’t just say that one is better than the other, we consider them equal because we don’t know what will prevail in winter. Right now we have Omicron 4, 5, but Centaurus is an Omicron 2 strain. I’m not saying that he will win, but this is one of the strains that can win.Centaur has similar symptoms, so it is extremely difficult to determine if you are infected with Centaur or Omicron 5. We are monitoring this variant.It was common in India, but we have not seen other countries where its distribution would have been recorded.Therefore, we have no indication, except in India, where Omicron 4 and 5 did not predominate, that it could cause any particular problems.We have seen that it was discovered as early as July 15 in other countries such US, UK, Germany, and hasn’t been distributed there. So far, we’re monitoring it.”
Regarding the epidemiological situation in the country, the professor expressed the opinion that an increase in the infection rate is expected in the middle or end of October, but he cannot predict with certainty whether this will develop into an outbreak. Outbreaks usually need a new strain, says Majorkinis, as was the case with Delta and Omicron. The epidemiologist explains:
“As long as we have winter strains and summer strains that give outbreaks, this is essentially how we see the epidemic, two big waves, two big mountains that spread: one in winter, one in summer. And each time they are associated with different strains. If things continue like this, then, logically, we will get another new strain.”
Answering a question about the possibility of reintroducing mandatory measures, the professor noted that the orientation of horizontal measures corresponds to the pressure on the healthcare system:
“If we see that the number of hospitalizations in intensive care units doubles or triples, then mandatory measures will be taken, but I think this is unlikely to happen again,” he said.
In the meantime, the World Health Organization has said that the coronavirus pandemic will end for the foreseeable future. This was announced by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noting that the number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the world decreased last week to the lowest level since March 2020:
“Last week, the number of COVID-19 deaths reported was the lowest since March 2020. We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We are not there yet, but completion is in sight “.
He compared the fight against the coronavirus pandemic to a marathon: “We can see the finish line. We are in a winning position. But now the worst thing would be to stop running.”