Can I get the COVID-19 vaccination? 😷

The Ministry of Health is controlling the order for the population vaccination. The age groups that can be vaccinated at the moment in Greece are:

🔺 Citizens over 5 years old.

🔺 People with underlying medical problems (such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, cardiovascular disease, serious heart conditions, obesity, or diabetes). Ask your doctor to check if you belong in this group or find details here in Greece.

🔺 People in the "vulnerable group" (people at higher risk or with compromised immune systems) can book an appointment for a 4th dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. The 4th dose should be given 3 months after the 3rd dose for Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Ask your doctor and check your eligibility on emvolio.gov.gr/eligibility to see if you should get a 4th dose.


Vaccination & COVID-19 Recovery Certificates

You can get your vaccination certificate through GOV.GR or at a KEP one day after your last dose. Your certificate will be valid after 14 days because the vaccine takes 14 days to be fully effective. After your booster shot (3rd dose for Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca & 2nd dose for Johnson & Johnson) you can get your vaccination certificate the next day, but again it will not be valid until 14 days later. For the booster dose, you can use your old vaccination certificate until the 14 days have passed.

If you are vaccinated and do a rapid/self test that comes out positive, you can declare this to prove that you have COVID-19. After 14 days, you can get your COVID-19 Recovery Certificate from GOV.GR or KEP.

If you are unvaccinated, you must do a PCR test to prove that you have COVID-19.

Note: People that the vaccination certificate is NOT valid for

  • people who have not taken the 3rd dose and have passed 7 months since the 2nd
  • people who have received the monosodium vaccine and have passed 3 months since then
  • people who have been Covid-19 sick and it has been 3 months since then

People in the above categories are considered unvaccinated and the certificate is not valid.


Who should or should not be vaccinated?

Medical professionals can best advise individuals on whether or not they should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals with a history of thrombosis or severe allergies should speak to a physician first.

There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine affects your chances of becoming pregnant. There is no need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination. Based on available evidence, people with severe allergic reactions to any ingredients of the COVID-19 vaccine should generally be excluded from COVID-19 vaccination to avoid possible adverse effects. If you have any allergies to medication, report it to the medical staff before you are vaccinated. If you are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you can get vaccinated once your primary symptoms have disappeared.


Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and will help protect you against developing severe COVID-19 disease, including hospitalization and death. There are strict protections in place to help ensure the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines. The safety requirements for COVID-19 vaccines are the same as for any other vaccine in the European Union. The safety and effectiveness procedures were not bypassed with the rapid roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccines. Before being approved by the international, European Union (EU), as well as national medical authorities, every type of vaccine that is provided to you, will have gone through very stringent clinical research to be sure that it is safe and effective and suitable to vaccinate everyone.

So far, more than three million people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine in Greece and a billion have received the first dose worldwide, and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions or clotting problems, have been very rare. We all have the risk of covid infection that exceeds the risk of these very rare events. As with all vaccines, the use of COVID-19 continues to be controlled closely so that it remains safe for all who receive them.


Do Covid-19 vaccines cause side effects?

Like any vaccine, COVID-19 vaccines may cause side effects, most of which are mild or moderate and go away within a few days. Some people experience no side effects. Others have reported common side effects like: swelling, redness and pain around the injection, fever, headache, tiredness, muscle pain, chills, and nausea. You will be asked to wait 15-30 minutes after being vaccinated by medical staff to check your reaction.

Experiencing side effects after getting vaccinated means the vaccine builds protection in your body (immunity) and is working. If the symptoms worsen or there is a concern, it is advised to consult a physician or medical staff for an evaluation. Vaccine effects are continually checked by expert authorities worldwide to identify any recurring or new side effects. It is important to note the very low risk of side effects against the benefit of protection against the covid-19 virus.

Long-term side effects usually happen within the first few days of getting a Covid-19 vaccine. Serious side effects that cause long-term health problems are very unlikely. Every vaccine, including every COVID-19 vaccine, is clinically tested for side effects during an extended period before the vaccine is further tested and approved for wider distribution.


Which vaccine should I take?

You should take the vaccine you are offered. Every vaccine distributed has met the safety and effectiveness standards. There are two types of vaccines currently available in Greece, those for one dose and those for two doses. Most people will be protected after receiving both doses of the vaccine if they are vaccinated with the one that requires two doses. It takes at least a week after the 2nd dose to develop immunity, which, to date, is estimated that it lasts 6 to 8 months.


Should I be vaccinated if I have had COVID-19?

The National Vaccination Committee announced that those who had COVID-19 should get single vaccine dose after 6-12 months. Further instructions will be announced.


What are the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccination is a simple, safe, and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases. The COVID-19 vaccines have gone through studies to ensure they are as safe as possible. Systems that watch for safety issues are in place across the entire country. The first vaccines to be approved appear to be quite effective, up to 95%.

COVID-19 vaccines protect us against the disease by developing an immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This immunity helps you fight the virus if you are exposed. It also means that you protect people around you. If you are vaccinated, your risk of infecting other people around you is dramatically reduced. This is particularly important for people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, such as healthcare providers, elderly adults, and people with underlying medical conditions.

After vaccination, immunity against COVID-19 will last at least 6-8 months based on what we currently know. There is still a small possibility to get COVID-19 even when vaccinated. No vaccine is 100% protective. So, it is important to continue taking all public health measures, such as physical distancing, masks, and frequent handwashing. When a big part of the population is vaccinated (approximately 70-85%), immunity against COVID-19 will develop within the community.

Paticularly in Greece, more than three million people have received the COVID-19 vaccine for free without any serious side effects, other than the usual side effects observed in some specific cases after the vaccination. Mild side effects, such as pain on the arm where you got the shot, fever, malaise, myalgias, and headache, go away quickly, usually within twenty-four hours. The vaccines used in Greece have been approved for their safety, quality and effectiveness by the competent European organizations and have been tested by the World Health Organization (WHO).


Why getting a COVID-19 vaccine helps my community?

COVID-19 is a new virus that has dramatically affected the lives of all people worldwide within a year of its appearance. It has high transmissibility so that it is impossible to control only with the application of other, better known to all of us, public health measures. It can lead to the loss of many human lives while still healthy.

Scientists around the world are developing many potential vaccines for COVID-19. These vaccines are all designed to teach the immune system to recognize and block the virus that causes COVID-19 safely. Vaccines treat diseases that cannot be controlled by other public health measures alone. They aim to reduce and eliminate highly contagious diseases, with severe effects on human health, with high mortality.


Can I get a vaccine and still get COVID-19?

Yes, in some cases, one can get sick even though someone has been vaccinated. In general, no vaccine is 100% effective. Therefore, citizens should continue to take the recommended precautions to avoid infection, (use a mask, social distance, hygiene and cleanliness of the area where they live or work). Vaccines against COVID-19 seem to reduce the chance of someone getting the disease. Each vaccine has been tested in more than 20,000 people in various countries and has an acceptable safety profile. It takes a few weeks for someone to develop immunity and be protected after the vaccine is given. Some people may get COVID-19 even though they have been vaccinated, but the disease may be less severe.

There are two types of vaccines currently available in Greece, those for one dose and those for two doses. Most people will be protected after receiving both doses of the vaccine if they are vaccinated with the one that requires two doses. It takes at least a week after the 2nd dose to develop immunity, which, to date, is estimated that it lasts 6 to 8 months. However, it is important to continue to protect yourself and keep the safety measures until most of the population has been vaccinated as there is a small possibility that someone can get COVID after being fully vaccinated.


Is COVID-19 vaccine free?

Vaccination is free for all and based on criteria mainly concerning residents' age. This means that if you are in the age of the ongoing phase, you will have received an SMS if you have AMKA or PAAYPA (online prescription). In case you don't have PAAYPA or AMKA, doctors must provide the prescription manually. According to Greek Government's updates, within the next few weeks, everyone will have the new card (in replacement of the tri-fold card) to have an active PAAYPA, as soon as possible.


Can we stop taking precautions after being vaccinated?

Full protection from COVID-19 from the vaccine is provided around 21 days after the second dose (for most vaccines) or single dose (Johnson & Johnson vaccine only). Before this period, it is still possible to catch the virus, so it is important to adhere to social distancing measures in between vaccines and after you have been vaccinated. Even after the 21 days, the COVID-19 vaccine should protect you from becoming sick, but it won’t necessarily stop you from infecting other people. It may take some time before everyone is vaccinated, so, it is important that you continue to followCovid-19 prevention measures (masks, hygiene, social distancing). During the winter when people tend to spend more time indoors, it is a good idea to have a flow of air, for example by opening windows frequently.


What can I do now to help protect myself from getting COVID-19 until I can get a vaccine?

To protect yourself, follow these recommendations: - Wear a mask over your nose and mouth - Stay at least 2 meters from others - Avoid crowds - Avoid poorly ventilated spaces - Wash your hands often.


How can I get an appointment for COVID-19 vaccination?

You can check if you belong to the groups that have priority in vaccination:

  • by entering your AMKA and your AFM (tax number) or Surname in this link
  • contact the nearest KEP or Pharmacies to check if you have a vaccination priority.
  • Check via SMS if you belong to the population group that can be vaccinated currently, by sending a text message (SMS) with AMKA (space) Surname at 13034.

Find instructions here. It is in Greek. If you need help, you can send a message to RI Facebook page

Asylum seekers in Reception and Identification Centers (RICs) and Reception Sites in the mainland: The Government will announce a specific vaccination plan for asylum seekers residing in Reception and Identification Centers (RICs) on the islands well as in Reception Sites in the mainland.

Ukrainian nationals -that obtain Temporary Protection status- can use their AMKA (Social Security Number), written on the Card, to book the appointment.


If I don’t have AMKA or PAAYPA, how can I book an appointment for the vaccination?

The Greek Government provides a temporary AMKA (PAMKA) for those they don't have yet in order to proceed with the vaccination. For granting the temporary AMKA, you must fill in the form here in this link with the following information:

• Name • Surname • Patronymic • maiden name • gender • citizenship • date and country • his contact details, in particular his postal address, e-mail address and mobile phone number, • the Tax Registration Number (AFM), if EXISTS • the number and the year of issue of one of the following identification documents: Police Identity Card, European Health Insurance Card, Temporary or permanent residence permit.

The page is in Greek, so do not hesitate to contact us in case you need further support.

With the temporary AMKA (PAMKA) you can:

  • have a self-test
  • register the result of the test to the online platform
  • issue the statement of results
  • have a Covid-19 appointment based on the planning of the vaccination population groups.

You can also reach out a KEP office to submit for a PAMKA number. Just so you know, KEP offices won't check the validity of your passports or legal residence or any other document. They also accept any submitted by the citizen, whether it is valid or not.


What should I do if I struggle to identify my AMKA or PAYYPA in the system?

For finding your PAAYPA, visit the official website (available in more languages). For finding your AMKA, visit the official website here (in Greek). For finding your PAMKA, visit the official website here (in Greek).

Where can I get assistance?

You can always send us a message on Facebook page with your questions or if you need help to make an appointment.

Here are some useful additional Helplines:

  • National Public Health Organization (EODY): +30 2105212000, or 1135 | Available in Greek and English. 
  • Hellenic Red Cross (HRC) - Multifunctional Center (MFC): +302105140440 (landine) or +306934724893 (Whats App/ Viber), Mon.-Fri. 9am – 8pm| Available in Greek, English, Arabic, Farsi/Dari, Pashto, Russian, French, Swahilli, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Turkish, Urdu, Mandingo, Malinke, Susu, Fula and Kissi. - Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) Helpline: see here for the schedule

Access of the people living in Athens to the vaccination against COVID-19 (regardless of legal documents):

You can contact daily Doctors Without Borders through the following:

Email: Farsi/Dari: MSFCH-Athens-COVIDHPSupervisor1@geneva.msf.org Arabic: MSFCH-Athens-COVIDHPSupervisor2@geneva.msf.org French: MSFCH-Athens-COVIDHPSupervisor3@geneva.msf.org Urdu: MSFCH-Athens-COVIDHPSupervisor4@geneva.msf.org

Text and Voice messages via WhatsApp at: Farsi / Dari : 6952281212, 6952221124 Arabic : 6952281213, 6952281211 French : 6952281214, 6952221126, 6952221125 Urdu : 6952221127, 6948214979

In-person: Open Accommodation Sites and RICs: NPHO (EODY) field staff.


European digital COVID-19 certificates

You can issue the European Digital Certificate COVID-19 through the online platform here only if you have:

  • complete the vaccination process
  • you were sick of COVID-19 and the positive result of the test has been registered by the Health Unit or a Diagnostic Center or a Laboratory or official unit of EODY in which you have performed the test.
  • You have undergone a diagnostic test (during the last 30 days), Rapid or PCR and the negative result has been registered by the by the Health Unit or a Diagnostic Center or a Laboratory or official unit of EODY in which you have performed the test.

To issue the certificate, you need to have a Greek identity card stating your details in Latin characters or a valid passport. You will need your Taxisnet passwords and your AMKA.

If you don't have TAXISnet codes to connect to gov.gr or you have an identification document from another country, or you have another issue issuing the certificate online, you can visit a Citizen Service Center (KEP) to issue the European Digital Certificate COVID-19.