»As the latest data has shown, the Greek citizens reacted well to this new reality (i.e., lockdown policy, etc.) and sacrificed a lot to contain the spread of COVID. For this reason, our country remains one of the safest in Europe, counting relatively a low number of cases and deaths in comparison to the rest of Europe. The vaccine will fortify the efforts we all make to return to normality..» Theofilos Tsoleridis emphasises during his interview on tilosnews.eu .
Theofilos Tsoleridis comes from Tilos. He was born on the 18th of March 1983 at Parma, Italy and he works at the General Hospital of Rhodes as a consultant anaesthesiologist. He grew up in Rhodes and studied medicine at the University of L’Aquila in Italy. He holds postgraduate studies on Algology and Pain therapy from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, on the Administration of Healthcare Units from the Open University of Cyprus, on Medicinal Acupuncture from the University of West Attica and he is currently completing his PhD at Democritus University of Thrace. He has published papers in scientific peer reviewed journals and has a number or presentations in national and international conferences. He is married and has two children.
The interview on tilosnews.eu
What is the current situation with COVID at the hospital in Rhodes?
Currently, there are only a few people hospitalized at the Unit of Infectious Diseases of the General Hospital of Rhodes, Greece. Thankfully, the condition of those patients is stable and, they do not need intensive care. I have to say that the hospital reacted correctly towards the pandemic by establishing from the very beginning a unit dedicated to COVID patients. There has also been an excellent collaboration between all medical specialties as some COVID patients could present other medical issues (heart attack, emergency surgery, women in labor, etc.)
What is your view on COVID vaccines?
From the very first moment that the world faced the pandemic and observed its consequences on society, human health, and the economy, the scientific community has put a great effort in gaining time and providing prevention strategies and treatments against coronavirus. It is essential that, at this moment, we possess the appropriate tools to fight against this virus and that those tools are being put to fair use to contain the pandemic. As the latest data has shown, the Greek citizens reacted well to this new reality (i.e., lockdown policy, etc.) and sacrificed a lot to contain the spread of COVID. For this reason, our country remains one of the safest in Europe, counting relatively a low number of cases and deaths in comparison to the rest of Europe. The vaccine will fortify the efforts we all make to return to normality.
Being vaccinated already, are there any adverse reactions you happened to experience? When do you have to do the second dose of the vaccine?
I got vaccinated on the 12th of January, and the second dose has been scheduled 21 days later. I honestly did not feel anything during the procedure, and I did not feel unwell or worried. The same night, a felt a bit of muscular pain at the injection site that completely disappeared after 24 hours. It was something that my colleagues had warned me about, and most of people that got vaccinated had the same issue as well. In general, the side effects of the vaccine involve headache, tiredness, and in some cases flu-related symptoms. None of my colleagues reported such symptoms.
There was a proposal lately to get the inhabitants of small islands vaccinated first. Do you feel that this would help the fight against COVID 19, considering the lack of medical personnel and equipment in these islands?
As you know, in 2016, while completing my military service on our island, I also served as a doctor as there was no general practitioner (GP). There, I faced a lot of emergency situations, including some that were pretty tough. I have experienced the difficulties the people face there firsthand, and I have also experienced the challenges of being a doctor on such an island. There is no fixed routine; you are on duty 24/7, without substantial medical means or infrastructure. The municipality and the people of the island had put a huge effort to support me, and I am extremely grateful for their cooperation and support. I believe that it is crucial to safeguard the health of the inhabitants of smaller islands because, as you said, there is a substantial lack of medical personnel and equipment. The vaccine is the most potent preventive measure we have in our hands, and it will help us eliminate the spread of COVID. Imagine how disastrous a single case could be for an island like ours; rapid transmission, possible airlifts to Rhodes, and in even more severe cases, endotracheal intubations and further transfer to specialized hospitals for intensive care, causing a substantial emotional and financial impact on the families of the patients. The vaccine will protect us against those issues.
Are there any groups of people who should avoid being vaccinated at this stage (i.e. history of allergic shock reactions etc)?
Given the current scientific data, people younger than 16 years of age and pregnant women cannot be vaccinated. However, it is only firmly not recommended for people who manifested a severe allergic reaction to any of the vaccine components in the past. As you may see, before vaccination, we are called to fill in a form where we need to state our medical history. This form also included all the necessary instructions.
What would you say to conspiracy theory supporters and the ones who are against COVID vaccine?
Since the first moment vaccines were discovered, they have helped eliminate severe diseases such as smallpox or limit the prevalence of others such as polio and tuberculosis. Vaccines are part of the most potent weapons that science has against some diseases. No matter how attractive a conspiracy theory can be, we all need to stop and consider that this is a health matter and a severe one. Myself, a parent who happens to be in the first line in healthcare, and my wife, who receives patients daily, are willing to protect ourselves with the vaccine and our family, parents, grandparents, and friends. It is a responsible act, and we all need to consider that we need to protect ourselves and society. Besides, the vaccine will not be effective if at least 75% of the population is vaccinated. Apart from interpreting it as an act of individual responsibility, we need to think about what we really want. Do we want to finally get out of this tunnel or to stay locked in and face the consequences?