Vaccination Appointments for Greeks Aged 80-84 to Become Available on Friday

Αssociated Press

Dimitra Magiorou, 89, receives the first dose of of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 at a health center in Athens, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS -- Vaccination appointments for citizens aged 80-84 will become available at 18:00 on Friday, said Health Ministry Secretary General for Primary Health Care, Marios Themistokleous, at a live briefing on Thursday.

Some 123.077 citizens have so far been inoculated in Greece, he added, which translates to 1.13 pct of the country's population.

Speaking at the same briefing, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said that the figures produced by the country's current epidemiological profile continue to keep health experts concerned, as there is a slight increase in new daily cases of infection compared to last week, registering an average of 440 cases per day.

The median age of new cases is 46 years, and the number of active cases in the Attica region at the moment is 2,304.

Keeping up with all safety restrictions is still key, stressed the minister, before noting that the pandemic's burden on the national health system's intensive care units has subsided considerably, as at least half of all Covid-19 ICU beds in Athens and Thessaloniki are currently unoccupied.

Greece launched its COVID-19 vaccination program in late December with over 93,000 people having received a first dose of a two-shot vaccine, according to government statistics.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said "the vaccination certificate is not about restricting people’s ability to travel", in a post on social media ahead of Thursday's EU Summit.

On Twitter, Mitsotakis continued in English: "It's about opening up the freedom of movement using a simple, secure digital solution that can get our economies moving again. Looking forward to discussing this at the European Commission."

Speaking to EURACTIV earlier on Thursday, Mitsotakis said that "it’s exactly the kind of collaborative project that the EU was set up to deliver", adding: "That’s exactly why I am raising the issue now with the European Commission, and why EU leaders need to start to work on this initiative immediately, in order to fairly structure digital vaccine certificates and associated practices that satisfy any concerns."