October 18, 2021

Keynote speech of Alternate Minister of Health, Mina Gkagka, at the Educational Program of Henry Dunant Hospital Center

Mrs. Mina Gkagka, Alternate Minister of Health, Professor of Pulmonary Medicine, was a keynote speaker at the “Prevention, diagnosis and treatment protocols for COVID-19 Patients” event for the completion of the second cycle of the credit-awarding educational program prepared for the period 2021-22 by the scientific committee of Henry Dunant Hospital Center. 

The alternate minister linked the end of the pandemic to the degree of immunity that will be achieved worldwide, elaborating on the steps taken to treat coronavirus, in parallel with the vaccination program. “We can now treat the disease more effectively with cortisone, antigoagulants and new drugs that we will have in our treatment quiver, but we do not have specific antiviral drugs that are good for every patient. Our big shield is vaccination”, was her message. At the same time, she made it clear that there is no plan to extend mandatory vaccination universally, to the entire population: “It is a measure that no country in the world has taken”, she stressed. 

Referring to RNA vaccines, Mrs. Gkagka noted: “All this misinformation around RNA and how it will affect our genetic material is completely unfounded. On the contrary, the entry of the entire genetic material of the virus is what characterizes natural infection in viruses: All viruses translate and multiply in our cells, not having their own reproduction system. Therefore, in a natural infection the exposure is much higher, and yet there are no changes to our cells. RNA technology protects us, it is an impressive scientific achievement, and, remember, the first RNA vaccines begun 30 years ago. It is a technology that we already had, it’s not new, and it is very important that we have it”. 

As to the questions that have arisen regarding the mixing of vaccines, the Alternate Minister of Health pointed out that “the booster dose does not have to be done with the same vaccine.  “As with tetanus or the flu, where the vaccine given the previous time or year does not work in a binding way, so it is with Covid-19; we don’t have to use the same vaccine”. 

In his foreword to the keynote speech of the Alternate Minister of Health, the president and CEO of Henry Dunant Hospital Center Mr. Themos Charamis highlighted the particular importance that the hospital places to the continuing education programs, as well as the support it offered to National Health System by covering the on-call program during the peak of the pandemic. 

The second cycle of the annual educational program, which is credited by the Panhellenic Medical Association (PMA) with a total of 68 Continuing Medical Education (CME-CPD) credits, was coordinated by the president of the Infections Committee of the Henry Dunant Hospital Center, Mr. Antonis Vasilogiannakopoulos.