January vaccinations target surpassed expectations, with 450,000 inoculation appointments booked for February

Some 290,000 vaccinations against the coronavirus have so far been performed in Greece, said Health Ministry Secretary General for Primary Health Care, Marios Themistokleous, during the regular live briefing on the unfolding vaccinations program on Monday.

This figure translates to a 2.75 pct of the country’s population, while in January the target of 200,000 monthly vaccinations was surpassed by 71,000. Moreover, on Monday alone some 20,000 inoculations were carried out, expected to surpass 22,000 by the end of the day, he added.

Some 680,000 thousand vaccination appointments have been booked by citizens so far, of which 236,000 concern the first dose and 444,000 the second. Appointments booked for the month of February surpass 450,000.

There are currently 400 vaccination centers across the country, and another 100 mobile medical units of the National Public Health Organization (EODY) all performing inoculations daily; more of all of these can be set up, he noted, but always depending on the number of available vaccines.

Greece is currently sixth in the EU in terms of unfolding vaccinations per 100,000 inhabitants.

At least 1,500 staff are working every day to see vaccinations through, of whom 1,000 come from the national health system, 250 from the armed forces and another 250 from the Greek police and the Civil Protection Secretariat; some 70 staff from the Ministry of Digital Governance are also assisting in this process, noted Themistokleous.

On top of the 7,000 staff hired thus far to strengthen the national system during the unfolding pandemic, another 1,000 will soon be hired to help with vaccinations, he noted.

Germany, France and Italy have all expressed their reluctance concerning vaccinating those aged over 65 with AstraZeneca’s immunogenic vaccine, produced by both Britain and Sweden, which was approved on January 27, said the Head of the National Vaccination Committee Maria Theodoridou at the Monday briefing.

Although this vaccine was indeed approved by the European Medicines Agency, the ‘thorn’ here, as she called it, is the very small number of people who have been vaccinated so far, therefore any assessment of it, at the moment, is unreliable; there needs to be at least some 7,500 people vaccinated by this specific vaccine before an objective evaluation can be considered, she underlined. The first dose of this vaccine offers 60 pct coverage and the second dose, taken 12 weeks later, raises coverage to 82 percent; it is easy to store, as it only requires regular refrigeration temperatures, and can be mass produced, which means that it can “fill the gap in vaccinations across several countries.”