NEWS

Vaccination against cover-19 to start in mid-January, says health official

vaccination-against-cover-19-to-start-in-mid-january-says-health-official

The platform on which the general population will be able to book their vaccination appointments (emvolio.gov.gr) once the Covid-19 jabs arrive in Greece will open in mid-January, Health Ministry Secretary General for Primary Health Care, Marios Themistokleous, said at Monday's briefing on the government's upcoming vaccination program.

Greece is expected to receive the first 9,000 vaccines on December 26 and another 429,000 vaccines will be received by the end of January 2021, he said. By the end of March, Greece will have received some 1,665,550 vaccines.

The vaccines will be stored in five safe locations, while strict safety and security protocols will be kept during their distribution, he explained. The Ministry of Defense will assist in the transportation of the vaccines in the country's remote rural areas, while the Citizen Protection Ministry will be responsible for its security during the distribution.  

In the same briefing, the head of the National Vaccination Committee, Maria Theodoridou, said doctors and nurses in Greece's national healthcare system will be the first to be vaccinated against the virus.

Theodoridou, pediatrician at the Athens University Medical School, said the elderly at nursing homes will be next, followed by members of the general population aged 85 and over.

Referring to the European Medicines Agency, which on Monday cleared the coronavirus vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech for further marketing authorization by the European Commission, she clarified that the vaccine's mRNA has no effect on the human cells' DNA. She also noted that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine "is very safe, it creates a great number of antibodies, and its effectiveness exceeds 94 pct."

She stressed, however, that even when vaccinations get under way, people should continue to observe safety measures like social distancing and wearing face masks.

"We can be positive and optimistic, but we cannot afford to let out guard down," she said.

Inoculations are scheduled to begin on December 27 at five hospitals in Athens and Thessaloniki.

[ANA-MPA]