Vaccinations in Greece moving at high numbers – Experts predict wall of immunity by the end of the year and Q&A on Omicron

The “Omicron” mutation of the coronavirus has caused intense concern throughout Europe with Greece being among the countries that have already taken protection measures.

Israel became the first country in the world to completely close its borders to foreigners due to the spread of the mutation in Europe. At the same time, most European Union countries have already announced restrictive measures.

What Greek scientists say about the new mutation
For the time being, our country does not have a confirmed case of the “Omicron” mutation, as the president of IIVEAA, Dimitris Thanos , assured on Friday . Scientists believe that people need special attention but are optimistic that vaccines are capable of providing the protection they need.

The Demosthenes Sarigiannis, speaking to SKAI, expressed the estimation that we will reach 80% percentages for the wall of immunity by the end of the year. The professor of Environmental Engineering at AUTh, explained that by the end of the year a percentage of 65% will have been fully vaccinated. If we put in it a 15% that is estimated to have acquired natural immunity through the disease then the percentage reaches 80%. According to Mr. Sarigiannis, then we will reach the desired results for the wall of immunity. As he mentioned two days ago, we reached the peak of this wave and he appeared optimistic that from now on there will be de-escalation. Mr. Sarigiannis stressed that the use of a mask should be applied outdoors as well.

The Alcibiades Vatopoulos speaking Sunday morning clarified that hardly appears a variant of the virus will be stronger than vaccines. Theodoros Vasilakopoulos was on the same wavelength , emphasizing the great need for vaccination, those who have not done so, but also for those who have a recommendation for a booster dose.

For his part, Evangelos Manolopoulos said that the data we have in our hands are not so worrying and appeared confident that the vaccine can protect citizens. Specifically, he stressed that the worst case scenario is to reduce the efficiency a bit, as was done with the “Delta” mutation.

The optimistic thing is that the vaccinations continue at the pace of last March, as the Deputy Minister of Digital Government, George Georgantas, told SKAI, emphasizing that yesterday they reached 90,000.

“Yesterday we exceeded the number of 7 million citizens who have been vaccinated with the first dose and around 6.4 million are fully vaccinated. At the same time, many vaccinations of the third dose are given every day. Yesterday, a total of 90,000 vaccinations were performed in the country. In other words, we reach 100,000 a day, as it was in March-April, when the vaccination program was in full swing. The mobility that exists makes us optimistic. With the first dose, those who come and are vaccinated about 20,000 every day, but also 60,000-70,000 who are vaccinated with the booster dose. At the moment, 75% of the adult population has been vaccinated “, Mr. Georgantas stated characteristically.

At the same time, he stressed that at the moment no new measures are required. “The economy and the market are open and we will see how the existing measures will work. “Something else is not needed at the moment,” he said, adding that the mask should be worn, even outdoors, where it is crowded.

The Greek Ministry of Health announced on Friday afternoon the measures that apply to flights from the following countries: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Eswatini, Zambia and Malawi.

Specifically:

  • Only Greek nationals and other nationals are allowed to enter only for absolutely essential (essential) movements, subject to molecular control (PCR) of 72 hours, regardless of their vaccination status.
  • A necessary condition for their entry is the issuance of a permit by the local Embassies, Consulates and Consular Authorities of other countries, representing our country, in case of absence of the Greek Embassy.
    Upon entering the country, a rapid antigen test (Rapid Antigen Test) will be performed.
  • After entering the country, they will be restricted to quarantine hotels for 10 days and re-checked after the expiration of ten days and the end of the quarantine subject to negative molecular control (PCR).
    The Ministry of Health points out that to date there are no direct flights to these countries.

Mosialos 11 answers to the key questions for “Omicron”
In his post Elias Mosialos answers 11 basic questions about the “Omicron” mutation, since in the last 24 hours, the eyes of scientists from all over the world. Specifically, the professor states:

Is there a specific reason beyond the obvious that makes scientists worried?

Obviously the whole spectrum of new mutations should be investigated but in particular one of them (in position 681) gives us indications that the new variant is quite contagious. That may be the concern. We also have a total of 50 mutations in the new variant, 32 of which are in the spike protein. Therefore we have twice the number of mutations in the spike protein compared to the Delta variant.

So isn’t it a more dangerous variant?

We do not know yet. We will wait for the data analysis in the coming weeks.

Is it more contagious than Delta?

We do not know that yet either. If it is not there will be no particular cause for concern.

How do we know this?

The South African health authorities have an adequate network of epidemiological surveillance. They record hospital admissions (compared to Delta) and the outcome of hospitalization. So in the coming weeks we will know if the spread of the new variant is greater or not and how effective the vaccines are in preventing serious infection and hospitalization.

Do we know if the new variant affects the clinical picture of the infection?

No different or more severe symptoms have been reported so far.

What effect does the new variant have on current diagnostic methods?

It seems that there will be no detection problem with the current rapid tests. Laboratory molecular tests are easily modified anyway once we have knowledge of the genetic sequence.

What effect will it have on current medication interventions?

We obviously do not have studies to get an idea of ​​whether vaccines are affected, but since vaccinated people who are infected do not have severe symptoms we can remain optimistic. From the location of the mutations in the new variant, we can assume that there may be some reduction in the effectiveness of monoclonal antibodies but we have no further data. And let’s not forget that for the time being, the variant has been identified in less than 100 people.

Will we have other variations in the future?

Yes. We have had hundreds so far and we do not know all of them. Only a few of these were ultimately important, such as the Alpha and the Delta mutation.

Why do you say we do not know them all?

Because so far 80% of the identification of the virus changes has been done in the countries of North America and the European Union. Therefore, it is very likely that we had several variants in other areas that went unnoticed or that had little dispersion and insignificant effects.

The companies announce that they will start the research for production of new vaccines.

They do well but this is certainly not going to happen immediately. It will take a few weeks (maybe 6-8) and then mass production and distribution. And of course mass vaccinations should follow. So we are talking about availability from spring onwards. But the problem and low vaccination rates in Africa and many Asian countries will remain. We therefore need a global vaccine availability policy at the same time, which I have been pointing out since March 2020.

And until then what do we do?

The vaccinated people start and do the third dose first. Those who have not been vaccinated should be vaccinated immediately. We do not know if the new variant will prevail. But it is very possible to have adequate protection from existing vaccines, especially those who have done all 3 doses.

Source – iefimerida.gr

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