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After Shunning COVID-19 Vaccines, Greeks Now Race for Shots

ATHENS – Only a few months after most Greeks said they were afraid of getting COVID-19 vaccines or didn't think they work, they are lining up to get them, hopeful it will roll back the pandemic and be able to resume some kind of life.

A survey by the firm Pulse for SKAI TV found that 61 percent of people “definitely” plan to have the shot and that 82 percent are generally in favor of being inoculated as the New Democracy government is adding more doses.

Only 16 percent are opposed and won't get the shot, showing there is still a small stronghold of anti-vaxxers and disbelievers in Greece as in other countries, who think the vaccines aren't safe or effective or a conspiracy between governments and pharmaceutical companies to control their minds and infect their DNA.

But the vaccinations are going slow with only 565,000 people in a country of 10. 7 million having received both of two required shots to be effective, including a host of politicians and their families who jumped the line to be first.

Health experts said that at least 70 percent of the population or some 7.49 million people need both shots to begin to slow the pandemic but the European Union fumbled the program to get shots distributed.

Greece, however, expects another 2 million or more in April and May from the team of the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech as well as from Moderna, AstraZeneca and the single-shot Johnson & Johnson version from America.

Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias will be meeting with representatives of Greece’s parliamentary parties March 29 to brief them on the the pandemic and the proposals to gradually reopen the economy.

Rival party leaders will also hear from the President of the panel of doctors and scientists advising the government, Maria Theodoridou, and also infectious disease expert Sotiris Tsiodras.

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