• Kalimera Kriti

Corona Vaccination: A Cretan Odyssey

As a result of the vaccine shortage, fewer than half of all planned vaccination centers have opened in Crete. A visit to the vaccination center can become a real odyssey for older villagers. Crete's local authority is demanding a solution for the problem.

Crete's hinterland with its pictorial villages is difficult to reach outside the tourist season without a car. In certain regions, the regular buses run only very rarely, and very remote areas are practically cut off from public transport. Because fewer than half of the 66 planned vaccination centers are still open on the island due to the shortage of vaccines (24.3), older Cretans in particular are confronted with logistical problems.

180 Kilometres There and Back

According to the Neakriti, residents of the Messara plateau in the south of the Heraklion district have to travel up to 180 kilometers to reach the nearest vaccination center in Chersonissos and to come back home. Being part of the current vaccination group, many of them are very old and have different health problems.

At the beginning of March, the Cretan local authority therefore asked the Greek Ministry of Health to open additional vaccination centers. There are 29 so far. Another 6 should open by the beginning of April, as the government's responsible, Vassilis Kontozomanis, promised. It is to be expected that more will be added in parallel with possible vaccine deliveries in April.

The number of cases is still high

In view of the continued high number of cases and the number of serious illnesses, the success of the Greek vaccination campaign would be absolutely desirable. There were 3062 positive tests across Greece on March 24th. 476 people had to be admitted to hospital because of Covid disease. 69 positive tests, that is significantly fewer than in the last few days, were registered in Crete with its 635,000 inhabitants. Greece had almost 7,600 corona deaths at the end of March, most of them since October 2020.