The government’s plans to vaccinate at least 70 percent of the population against the coronavirus is seen as a grand objective, as the campaign’s name “Freedom” would suggest, but the first obstacles on this road to the promised land have already begun to appear.
Those familiar with the preparations have referred to a “military operation,” but with a peaceful purpose, and there are many rivers to cross before Greece can reach “Freedom.”
The first of the obstacles was announced on Wednesday by government spokesman Stelios Petsas, who said that the vaccines are indeed expected sooner than initially thought, but the amount will be much smaller.
This practically means that the first vaccinations will start at the beginning of the new year – maybe some will be done symbolically at the end of 2020 – but they will be given to fewer people than expected.
More specifically, the first batch from Pfizer will include 300,000 vaccines, which means that only 150,000 people are expected to be vaccinated immediately, given that the doses will be administered in two phases.
What is clear is that health workers, who number 110,000 across the country, will be first in line.
However, this practically means that only 40,000 vaccines will be left for other groups, such as the vulnerable and the elderly, in January.
Things get even more complicated, considering that not all of the 110,000 health workers may be vaccinated, given that some people will refuse.
The government must persuade as many people as possible to be inoculated through its campaign, until the great goal of immunity – which requires at least 70% of the population vaccinated – is achieved.
In this context, the government campaign is expected to start next week.