One case of an allergic reaction to the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine has been reported in Greece, said Marios Themistokleous, Secretary-General of Primary Health Care, at a briefing of the Ministry of Health on Monday evening.
On Sunday, mass vaccination of the population against coronavirus began in Greece. For vaccinations, the Pfizer vaccine is used – the only one approved by the EU authorities. In Greece, the vaccination campaign was called “Operation Freedom.”
“As of 16.00 today, 471 people were vaccinated in five hospitals in Athens. A case of a mild allergic reaction was reported, which was successfully managed,” Themistokleous said, noting that he intends to provide journalists with detailed information with absolute transparency.
Maria Theodoridou, Chair of the National Vaccination Committee and Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, said that according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC and the authoritative Allergological and Immunological Society of Greece, allergies to vaccines are infrequent.
“There are 1.3 cases per million doses. Like common allergies that we all have in the environment, such as allergies to food, medications, various allergens like powder or even hymenopteran toxins like wasp or bee stings, we all have had them in our history or something similar; these allergic reactions are not a contraindication to vaccination,” she said.
She said that every vaccination center has a drug for immediate treatment of any, even mild allergic reaction, and the possibility of a more serious reaction with the introduction of epinephrine.
Theodoridou urged the public not to listen to “false, misleading news that does not pass through the filter of scientific knowledge.”
“Operation Freedom has a shield symbol and a syringe with a vaccine in the middle. Because the vaccine will really be our shield against the virus and our main weapon to avoid a pandemic that has turned our daily lives upside down,” said the chairman of the vaccination committee.
Themistokleous said that on Tuesday, vaccination will continue in five hospitals in Attica and will begin in four hospitals in the regions – in Larissa, Thessaloniki, Ioannina, and Patras.