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Greek Police, Anti-Terror Squads Guarding COVID-19 Vaccines

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(Photo by Eurokinissi, FILE)

ATHENS - The fragile first batches of the COVID-19 vaccines that Greece is getting, requiring they be kept at 72 degrees Celsius (161.6 Fahrenheit) below zero, are getting special protection from Greek authorities.

A special plan with the assistance of anti-terrorist units and the participation of more than 4,000 police officers has been drafted by the Hellenic Police (ELAS), under the instructions of the Civil Protection Ministry, for the storage of the vaccines, said Kathimerini.

It was put into operation Dec. 26 when the first batch of 9,750 doses arrived in special freezer containers, enough for 4,875 people as two shots are required three weeks apart and must be kept at near absolute zero conditions.

There will be no cost to people to be vaccinated and the New Democracy government hasn’t said how much the purchase cost will be when enough is received to cover the population of some 11 million people, although other media reports put the cost at between $15-$32 each.

The vaccine during its shipping and transfer will be guarded as will the warehouses in which it is kept, the newspaper said, with uniformed police guards keeping it safe at all times.

The warehouses are privately owned and are said to have the necessary equipment to keep the vaccines safe until use as they will be taken first to hospitals and then to 450 vaccination centers being set up.

Police said the scheme is designed for maximum protection as if they were doing “the transfer of a dangerous criminal,” the report also added.