Greece jabs islanders in bid to lure sun-starved tourists
independent.ie– The inhabitants of around 40 Greek islands are being vaccinated against Covid-19, meaning foreigners longing for a summer holiday under the Aegean sun can start booking now, the country’s tourism minister said yesterday.
The islands, scattered around the Aegean and Ionian seas, all have a population of less than 1,000 people, making mass vaccination relatively easy.
They include Halki, near Rhodes, Kastellorizo, barely a mile off the Turkish coast, Meganisi in the Ionian Sea and Kythira in the Peloponnese.
For lockdown-weary people dreaming of grilled octopus, dishes of taramasalata and all the other delights that a Hellenic holiday can offer, it is an encouraging step as Greece prepares to open up for what it hopes will be a busy tourism season.
Once the country’s tiniest islands have been vaccinated, larger destinations such as Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu will be targeted.
“If you’re going to send a medical team to an island with a small population, it makes sense to vaccinate not just the elderly and vulnerable, but everyone,” said Harry Theoharis, the Greek tourism minister.
“We’re vaccinating everyone on islands that have a population of less than 1,000 inhabitants.”
Greece hit the one- million vaccination mark this week, with 355,000 people now having received both doses – still a low percentage of the country’s 11 million population.
“It is a priority to vaccinate the tourist islands,” the minister said. “We want to vaccinate people working in the tourism sector, from hotel staff and waiters to tourist guides and drivers.” (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2021)