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Less than 500 vaccine doses lost from no-shows, says health official

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Greek health authorities have lost less than 500 doses from people who have not showed up for their jab appointment, a Health Ministry official said at Monday's briefing on the government's vaccination program.

“We have most less than 500 doses,” said Marios Themistokleous, Health Ministry secretary general for Primary Health Care, noting that Greece is one of the countries with the lowest number of wasted doses.

Themistokleous gave credit to healthcare professionals and authorities for swiftly setting up a mechanism to distribute unused jabs, initially to healthcare professionals and now to members of the Armed Forces.

He also said that Greece has an adequate stock of the specialized syringes needed to extract the sixth dose from the Pfizer vials, adding that all vaccination centers currently use the so-called low dead volume syringes.

Presenting fresh data on the government’s inoculation program, Themistokleous said health authorities vaccinated 16,271 people on Monday (by 5 p.m.), bringing the total number of people who have received the jab to 176,689, of which 168,809 have received the first dose and the remaining 7,880 the second dose.

More than 69,000 people who received the jab were over the age of 85, more than 88,000 were health workers and 10,700 were residents in retirement homes.

“In recent days we have increased the capacity of the system and the rate of vaccination. The average of the last few days exceeds 16,000 vaccinations,” he told journalists, adding that 390 vaccination centers are currently operating, both in hospitals and in the health centers.

As for the delivery of new vaccines, Themistokleous said Greece received 100,000 of the BioNTech vaccine on Monday and expects 815,000 doses by the end of February and 1,415,000 by the end of March.

AstraZeneca is scheduled to deliver 410,000 doses of its vaccine by the end of February and another 330,000 by the end of March.

Another 20,000 doses are expected from Moderna by the end of January, 115,000 by the end of February and another 105,000 by the end of March.

“Deliveries have been restored and we hope that we the timetable will be kept,”  he said.