Before Snow Paused COVID-19 Shots, Greece’s Vaccinations Stepped Up


The ancient Parthenon temple on the Acropolis hill is seen during a snowfall in central Athens , early Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. (Photo by Eurokinissi)

ATHENS - The slow roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccination was being accelerated across Greece just before a cold front and snow caused centers to cease fore a while but after more than 2,500 shots were given Feb. 15.

That’s still a far cry from reaching a goal to inoculate at least 70 percent of the country of more than 10.7 million people, or at least some 7.5 million, for the program to be effective as health authorities said was needed.

General Secretary for Primary Healthcare Marios Themistokleous said that while there were some minor problems at Greece’s 750 vaccination centers because of the weather, the vast majority of appointments went as planned.

He said that some 1,400 people received the vaccine at Athens’ first big vaccination center in the northern suburb of Maroussi on its first day of operation and another 600 at the new facility in Thessaloniki.

He said that 5,500 people will be vaccinated a day at the two facilities once they are in full operation.

The New Democracy government said that 235,000 appointments have been made so far by citizens in the 60-64 age group slated to get the AstraZeneca vaccine from the United Kingdom company and 150,000 in the 75-79 category for the batch made by the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German partner BioNTech.

Meanwhile, supermarkets will close at 18:00 on Tuesday in Attica, the general secretariat for commerce and consumer protection of the Development and Investments Ministry announced on Tuesday.

"Due to the adverse weather condition and in order for the supermarkets' employees to return with safety to their homes" said the Ministry announcement.