AstraZeneca vaccinations in Greece unfolding confidently, say health officials

The AstraZeneca vaccination against Covid-19 in Greece is continuing “steadily and with confidence”, said head of the Greek National Vaccination Committee Maria Theodoridou at Monday’s live briefing.

She reiterated the committee’s recommendation earlier to continue vaccinations on schedule. A European Medicines Agency (EMA) report is expected on Thursday on isolated thrombosis and embolism incidents that have led several countries to suspend use of the company’s vaccine.

Speaking at the same briefing, Health Secretary General for Primary Health Care Marios Themistokleous said that fewer than 4 pct of scheduled appointments for inoculations using the AstraZeneca vaccine have been cancelled. By 17.30 on Tuesday, specifically, he said, 85 pct of those who had an appointment showed up (6,684 people out of 7,815 appointments).

He noted that Greece is currently expecting delivery of 500,000 doses by AstraZeneca this month and another 450,000 in April.

Overall, Greece has vaccinated over 1,300,000 people against Covid-19 up to now, he added. Of these, 890,000 citizens have received the first dose of the vaccine.

People who belong in high-risk groups can start booking their vaccination appointments online as of March 19. This first group of citizens with high-risk health issues comprises some 215,000 people, noted Themistokleous. Priority is given to people with specific or chronic conditions such as patients with organ transplants, cancer, renal failure, immunosuppression and Down syndrome.

They said they expected appointments to open for people aged 70-75 on March 26 and 65-69 in the beginning of April.

Speaking on this issue, Theodoridou said “it is quite difficult to locate these patients” and the only way to track them is through their prescriptions.

Details on vaccination priorities and health conditions are available on emvoliogov.gr, she said.