Andreas Xanthos: Immunization policy effective, but health professionals’ vaccination rates low
There are no epidemics in Greece and no need for obligatory vaccinations of the Greek population, Health Minister Andreas Xanthos told the Social Affairs Committee of Parliament on Wednesday on immunization policy.
“There is no change in vaccination policy in Greece,” Xanthos said, “on the contrary, it was stricter this year, with children attending nurseries and kindergartens vaccinated against measles. There is no dilemma in vaccinating or not; this discussion is over.”
The minister noted however that “”it is unacceptable for professionals in the health sector not to be vaccinated and checked regularly, especially those in contact with sensitive sections of the population.”
Speaking of vaccination rates, Public Health Secretary General Ioannis Baskozos said that 2017 and 2018 saw a 73% rise in flu vaccination, compared to previous years. He added that 92% of the Greek population expressed faith in immunization, a much higher rate than the overall EU average of 70%.
It’s no accident that among refugee and migrant communities, which were vaccinated against the measles, there was no outbreak of the disease, proving the effectiveness of immunization.
The Committee also heard from health agencies – including the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention, children’s institutes and pediatric societies and the Athens Medical School – who noted that parents needed to be informed more thoroughly on immunization, and hospital and health care personnel needed to raise their own vaccination rates.