A current two-month lockdown for Greece officially ended on Thursday, but government officials say many restrictions will be extended to allow for a successful rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. While lockdown ends, Greece’s new cases spiked to over 800 overnight, yesterday.

In an interview with the Athens Macedonian News Agency (ANA) released on Saturday, health expert Gkikas Magiorkinis said that “if 40-50 per cent of the population has been vaccinated by summer then the pandemic will be significantly contained”.

Dr Magiorkinis, is an assistant professor at the Department of Hygiene & Epidemiology of the Medical School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens as well as a member of the committee of experts of the Ministry of Health.

Warning that personal health protection measures will be suspended as soon as cases significantly fall, he advised working closer towards containing the issue.

“At this stage we are in the containment of the second wave, we do not yet have signs of an increase, so we do not see a third wave at the moment,” he said.

On the note of several people avoiding the vaccine due to their fear of allergic reactions, Dr Magiorkinis reassured that clinical trials that have already begun on the allergies caused by the Pfizer / Biontech vaccine.

“The allergy profile of the vaccines is not very heavy,” he said.

“We are talking about slightly more people than the flu vaccine. All vaccines have the potential for an allergic reaction. And here we are talking about ten people per million population. And less than half have a severe allergic reaction. These are very rare side effects with the majority of them occurring in people who already have a history of allergies. Clinical studies want to show what is the best way to treat an allergy profile so that people with a history of allergies can be covered. So these are studies that will essentially improve the treatment of this population and what will be the conditions and protocols that should be followed for these people.”

Meanwhile, nurseries and pre-schools are set to reopen on Monday 11 January 2021, Greece’s Education Ministry announced. The same applies to kindergartens and primary schools.
Both teachers and pupils are required to wear a mask at all times in all indoor areas of the school buildings while antiseptics will be available at every stop/touch point. The cleaning and sanitisation of school areas will from now on be supervised by local government authorities.

Finally, sampling checks and testing will be carried out by EODY (Greece’s National Health Organisation) at schools, where necessary.