Greece to ramp up speed of COVID-19 vaccinations: PM

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece will ramp up the speed of its coronavirus vaccination drive, aiming to vaccinate about 8,000 people or more per day compared to the current 5,000 per day, the country’s Prime Minister said yesterday.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made the statement at the start of a government meeting on COVID-19. Greece began vaccinations with the Pfizer vaccine in late December, when the Prime Minister, the head of the opposition party and other top government and state officials were vaccinated.

According to the country’s priority list, healthcare workers at public and private hospitals are first in line for shots against the virus, followed by care home residents and workers, people over age 80 and those with serious health conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19.

Doses have been rolled out to hospitals across Greece, with the last 19 hospitals on islands scheduled to join the vaccination drive on January 11, Mitsotakis said.

So far, just over 26,000 people received a first dose of the two-shot vaccine, according to government statistics. Greece has a population of around 11 million and reported over 142,700 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 5,146 deaths.

Mitsotakis expressed his “satisfaction for the fact that vaccinations in this country are proceeding at a satisfactory rate, methodically, safely, transparently and crucially without mistakes until today”.

Greece is currently under lockdown restrictions imposed in early November, with retail stores, entertainment venues and restaurants shut and people only allowed to leave their homes for a limited number of specific reasons. Primary schools and kindergartens are expected to re-open on Monday.

A nurse prepares a vaccine prior to the vaccination of elderly people at a nursing house in Athens. PHOTO: AP