Speaking on the importance of vaccination as a key step towards defeating Covid-19, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director Hans Kluge urged Greeks to show trust and vaccinate.
“Getting the vaccine will be a game changer. It will be a deciding weapon against the pandemic and will help us gradually return to a normal social and economic life,” said Kluge speaking on public broadcaster ERT on Wednesday, during a briefing with Greek Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias.
Kluge praised Greece for its effective management of the pandemic and for its announced nationwide vaccination plan, adding that people should not be afraid of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“The combination of getting vaccinated and following public health recommendations will offer the best protection for yourself and will help you protect others,” he said.
Kluge described the Covid-19 vaccine as “a game changer” adding that it will enable people to gradually return to their normal lives and loved ones.
“Part of the solution is vaccination. With 200 candidate Covid-19 vaccines under development the promise is great,” he said. “Your confidence and trust in the Covid-19 vaccine and the health services that provide them, will be crucial.”
Aimed at boosting public trust in vaccination, Cluge cited Greece’s low number of cases in last year’s European measles outbreak. “Greece reported no cases at all. That’s because the overwhelmingly vast majority of the Greek population protect themselves and their communities through a, well managed, national vaccination program” against diseases such as polio and measles.
“I urge you to seek reliable information from trustworthy sources. Don’t be part of a misinformation infodemic,” he stressed.
Kluge went on to underline that standard national regulatory processes are in place, and that WHO assesses all candidate Covid-19 vaccine procedures before issuing licenses.
Referring to Greece’s announced vaccination plan, Kluge said “the country has made great efforts to make sure the limited vaccines are distributed in a fair, ethical, and transparent way”.
Lastly, he emphasized individual responsibility in the fight against Covid-19: “The role you play in the community, each and everyone of you, will determine where Covid-19 goes from here – whether we see a fierce third wave – or whether we hold the line and keep the virus at bay,” he said.