Greece starts vaccinating kids 5-11, introduces mandatory PCR test for all travellers

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Greece, Italy and a handful of other European Union nations began vaccinating children ages 5-11 against COVID-19 on Wednesday as EU governments braced for the omicron variant to spread quickly during the travel and large gatherings of the holiday season.

Youngsters getting their first shot in Greece were given stickers and the day off from school.

Greece administered its first shots to younger children hours after authorities announced the country’s highest daily death toll of the pandemic: 130 people. Among the first to respond was Greek Education Minister Niki Kerameus.

A staff member from the National Health Organisation (EODY) prepares a booster Johnson and Johnson vaccine against COVID-19 at Karatepe refugee camp, on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos, Greece, Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. Photo: AP Photo/Panagiotis Balaskas.

“I won’t hide the fact that on a personal level, after having talked with doctors and receiving scientific data, our family decided to vaccinate our son, who is 5 1/2 years old,” Kerameus said before taking her son, Loukas, to get his shot at an Athens hospital.

EU regulators last month approved a reduced-dose vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech for use in the 5-11 age group.

Mandatory PCR tests:

This vaccination drive comes as Greece’s Health Ministry announced on Wednesday that all travellers to Greece will have to show a mandatory negative PCR test for COVID-19 starting on Sunday.

All travellers to Greece will have to show a mandatory negative PCR test for COVID-19 starting on Sunday.

The measure affects all travellers, whether they are vaccinated against COVID-19 or not, irrespective of the country of departure. The only exception is for travellers who have spent less than 48 hours in a country prior to arriving in Greece.

The PCR test must have been carried out 48 hours before. The measure goes into effect at 6am on Sunday, December 19, 2021.

In a press release, the Greek Health Ministry said that the measure is in the context of the effort to control the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

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