ATHENS - The formal start of a campaign to provide COVID-19 vaccinations in Greece - after 66 politicians got the first batch - has been moved up to Jan. 11, with registrations, and then inoculations set to begin Jan. 20.
After that comes health care workers, the elderly, those with multiple or underlying conditions or deemed most at risk as a second wave of the Coronavirus is still clinging to the country.
There’s also worry that the leniency of a second lockdown extended to Jan. 11, and exemptions for the Church to disregard health protocols and hold Epiphany Day services could bring another surge in mid-January.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis - among the first to get a shot to, he said, show it’s safe and works - said health officials hope to increase the rate of vaccinations from 5,000 to 8,000 a day at least.
Otherwise, at the pace, it would take 3 ½ years to protect people, health authorities saying the vaccination rate must be at least 70 percent of the country’s population of nearly 10.5 million people to work.
Speaking during a teleconference on the management of the pandemic in Greece, Mitsotakis said that there will be 223 hotlines operating at Greece’s hospitals to organize the vaccination drive, said Kathimerini.
He also said data on its progress will be published in a daily bulletin on the emvolio.gov.gr website, which will show how many jabs were conducted on a 24-hour basis and where.
“It is a process that is completely digitized, from the state-of-the-art warehouses to the vaccination centers, so that the necessary oversight can be conducted in every link of the chain and immediate intervention is possible when needed,” he said.
Deputy Minister for Digital Governance Giorgos Georgandas told SKAI TV that citizens must first register on the paperless prescription platform on the gov.gr website, with their AMKA social security number and Taxisnet codes.
If unable to do so, they can seek help from their local pharmacy or Citizens’ Service Burea as needed.
Once registered for paperless prescriptions, they can then log onto the new platform that will go online Jan. 11 emvolio.gov.gr. After signing up for immunization, they will receive a message of where and when their vaccination will take place.
But in a country where English is spoken almost universally and a large number of expatriates who speak English, the websites are only in Greek so those who don’t speak or read Greek will need help from someone who does.