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149 new ER beds for the swine flu fight

24 November 2009 / 09:11:47  GRReporter
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Kremena Koutsoukou

The Health Ministry will add a total of 149 new beds in the medical centers in December. The reason is the constant increasing number of people infected with the swine flu virus. During the weekend another four death cases were reported. Among the deceased are two children ages 11 and 16. The 11 year old girl was suffering from tuberculosis and she had symptoms of acute respiratory failure. The 16 year old boy had a destroyed immune system. During last week the number of hospitalized patients with the new virus is 14 and the number of pneumonia cases has increased double. Despite the increasing number of infected people the epidemic has not reached its peak.

95 of the new beds have been installed and the Health Ministry plans to hire over 300 people medical staff. 54 of the other beds will be prepared by the end of the year. Right now hospitals around the country have the ability to emergency hospitalize over 700 people.

Health Minister Mariliza Xenoyanakopoulou said that the number of vaccinated medical staff is increasing by the day and added that the fact that last week 13 406 doctors and medical staff have been vaccinated is encouraging.  The citizen’s interest towards the vaccine is also increasing and this conclusion comes from the fact that many people have called the information number 1135. Only throughout the weekend 9 123 people have called.

Today starts the vaccination of risk groups – chronically ill, blood donors and people, who have babies over 6 months old. For now the vaccine shots are given in hospitals, 45 medical centers and 33 center of the National Insurance Services (IKA). The beginning of the risk group campaign was set by Athens mayor and doctor as profession Nikita Kaklamanis, who vaccinated one doctor and another citizen. The mayor expressed his hope for the epidemic to pass calmly and to end by spring, which is also the forecast given by experts. In order to get vaccinated all risk group citizens have to show their health book. No special medical certificate is needed, said the chairman of the Health Organization Pavlos Theodorakis.

Minister Xenoyanakopoulou and deputy minister Fofi Genimata said that they have taken and are continuing to take all necessary measures, in order to protect the country from pandemic and expressed their satisfaction from the prepared vaccination program and the vaccination information campaign. The Ministry is prepared and ready to hire new personnel – part and full time. They are also working hard in order for the H1N1 tests to be processed faster, Minister Xenoyanakopoulou promised that the Ministry will be ready to take additional measures in regards to hospitalization and closing schools in case the number of diseased increases drastically.

Regarding hiring medical staff Minister Xenoyanakopoulou said that 1 000 doctors will be hired by the National Health System. All medical staff, who are part of the vaccination campaign and who will have to work harder n case of pandemic, will be compensated. The Health and Economy Ministries will make a decision on the amount.

Until now Greece has received 1 920 400 vaccines. There are no serious side effects registered. By the end of November another 2 306 400 vaccines are expected. From December 1 the vaccination campaign will continue with vaccinating people between 18 and 49 years old and youngsters from 4 to 17 years old. 

Tags: Swine flu H1N1 virus vaccinations
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