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European Commissioner Praises Greece for Vaccination Rollout

European Commissioner for Food Safety Stella Kyriakides (center) with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (right) and Health Minister Vasilis Kikilias (left). Photo source: @PrimeMinisterGR

The progress of Greece’s Covid-19 vaccination drive, the effectiveness of vaccines, and the need to reopen Europe to travelers topped the agenda of talks on Tuesday between European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Kyriakides said her meeting in Athens with Mitsotakis was “very productive” and that that they discussed the steady progress of vaccinations and the EU Covid-19 digital certificate, adding that “health protection is our priority, along with a return to free movement in the EU”.

On his part, the Greek PM expressed his confidence that the health crisis was approaching its end and that progress will depend on the reach of vaccinations.

Mitsotakis informed the commissioner that more than 7.5 million people in Greece have been vaccinated against Covid-19 so far but expressed his concern that “from now on, especially as we approach July, the problem will not be the availability of vaccines but the willingness of citizens to get vaccinated”.

He urged the younger generations to show up and get the jab while stressing the importance of keeping the supply and distribution of vaccines ongoing in the winter.

Greece's Prometheus vaccination center in the northern Athens suburb of Maroussi. Photo source: @PrimeministerGR

Greece’s Prometheus vaccination center in the northern Athens suburb of Maroussi. Photo source: @PrimeministerGR

During her Athens visit, Kyriakides was also given a tour of the Prometheus vaccination center in Marousi by Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias with whom she discussed the progress of the country’s vaccination rollout.

The European Commissioner said the vaccination center was “well equipped, but I would say that it also respects the citizen in a way that is exemplary”. She also praised the government’s efforts to move swiftly ahead with the vaccination program “so that we can return to normalcy”. She warned however that Europe was “still in a fragile phase of the pandemic. Incidents in Europe, in all member states, are steadily declining, but this is not time for complacency”, she said after speaking with medical staff and citizens awaiting vaccination at the center. 

Vasilis Kikilias and Stella Kyriakides

Kyriakides went on to thank Greece for its support of EU proposals. “It is obvious that we will have to proceed with structural changes so that we can address potential future crises. For us, the primary goal is to continue together in the same way as we have done so far with the vaccine strategy. We have already announced a strategy for treatment programs, so that access to treatment is available for all member states regardless of size,” she said, adding that the EU has already inked deals for vaccines for the 2022-2023 period. 

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