The ongoing public health crisis has shown no signs of letting up. At each turn, the epidemic proves able to circumvent restrictive measures and the many efforts of authorities to stem the repeated waves and super-spreading of COVID-19.
The virus has proven to be exceptionally dynamic and capable of penetrating human communities in a unique manner, transcending all types of barriers erected by governments and public health authorities. Every crack left open by human activity is yet another opportunity for the virus to invade and attack.
In this, it is aided by mutations wrought by nature and its tendency to mutate in order predominate.
That is exactly what is happening this summer. With its new variants the virus is again demonstrating its ability to harm. It disputes and renders conditional policies and plans for a return to normalcy, belying the expectations that are at times cultivated of putting the situation under control.
Our experience leaves no room for misinterpretation. As long as individuals, communities, and the entire world do not conform and coordinate through common policies, the virus will rage on and the public health crisis will drag on, with serious repercussions for economic and social life.
As long as the spread is not checked, it will transform human communities into workshops creating mutations, rendering even more difficult the efforts of doctors, virologists, epidemiologists, and all sorts of experts to stem transmission and to curb its many repercussions.
As we have stressed repeatedly, there is no more effective means to handle the pandemic than vaccination.
The numbers are indisputable and are enough to persuade everyone.
It has been proven that COVID-19 vaccines save lives, limit the symptoms and hospitalisation of those infected, and facilitate the effort of national health systems to manage and check the spread of the virus.
Moreover, after the administration of billions of vaccinations globally, it appears that side-effects are limited and the risk is absolutely manageable.
On the other hand, any delay leaves room for the virus to regroup and attack, harming public health.
Especially the elderly, who have proven to be more vulnerable, cannot be indifferent to the urgings of the medical and scientific community that they be vaccinated.
People in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are aware that they in part owe their survival to the massive vaccinations administered to them in the first years of their lives in order to handle in the post-war era a variety of diseases linked to infant mortality.
Thanks to vaccines, Greece has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.
It is impermissible for people who are between the ages of 50-80 and had been vaccinated in their school years for diphtheria, rubella, measles, smallpox, and polio, to adopt irrational, unscientific, and conspiracy theories against vaccines.
The fact that most political parties are coordinating to promote vaccination, with party leaders issuing public pleas, is a measure of the critical nature of the choice.
Needless to say, it is imperative for the Orthodox Church of Greece to lift the reservations of certain bishops and to urge the faithful to be vaccinated en masse.
Moreover, everyone must consider that we cannot indefinitely abstain from work and the workplace. In autumn, when we shall resume our activities, divisions between the vaccinated and unvaccinated will peak, with incalculable consequences for social peace and cohesion.
There is no room or time for jokes or for unfounded and unscientific irrationality.
The scenarios are nightmarish for everyone, but especially for the unvaccinated, and they do not allow for inhibitions or reservations. Let them rush en masse to vaccination centres before it is too late.