Health Min: Registration of health workers for inoculation to begin shortly

The simultaneous distribution of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to all EU member states will begin immediately after its expected approval in coming days by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), said Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias at the live briefing on the pandemic on Wednesday.

The minister did say that procurement agreements with several other coronavirus vaccines by different pharmaceutical companies are pending with the EU. Following Pfizer’s, two more are to receive EMA’s approval very soon, he noted without naming them.

Health workers and those belonging to high-risk and vulnerable groups will receive the vaccine first, he noted, followed by the general population.

Starting on Thursday, the health ministry will consult with doctors and health authorities at the country’s seven health districts, on the immediate registration of all health staff that will require prioritized inoculation against the novel coronavirus, he underlined.

EOF to supervise vaccine distribution

The National Organization for Medicines (EOF) is on standby to supervise the upcoming availability and distribution of the coronavirus vaccine in Greece, said the organization’s director Dimitris Filippou at Wednesday’s live briefing on the pandemic.

EOF will supervise the vaccine’s development in Greece over an extended length of time to ensure its long-term safety, “even though it is safe and brings results,” he said. Following the vaccination results closely will help EOF register any undesired side-effects, he stressed.

On the subject of monoclonal antibodies, Filippou said Greece is one of the first few European countries that carried out related clinical trials. He clarified that the antibodies have been given a special license for emergency use in the United States, not Europe. Greece will stay in contact with other European authorities so as to be ready to receive monoclonal antibodies when their safety and effectiveness has been secured, he said, adding that it appears likely they will be commercially available in Europe early in 2021.

Finally, the EOF director provided figures about the now-completed flu vaccination season. He said 3,650,000 influenza vaccines in total were prescribed and 3,400,000 of these were administered, out of a total of 3,950,000 vaccines that were made available in the Greek market.