ATHENS – After a slow start over delayed distribution through European Union channels, COVID-19 full vaccinations in Greece – two required shots – went past the 2 million mark, far less than needed to slow the pandemic.
Health authorities said that at least 70 percent of the population of 10.7 million people, or some 7.49 million people, must be fully inoculated to be effective against the Coronavirus.
While the program was being stepped up there was another setback when many people refused to get the AstraZeneca version from the United Kingdom over fears of blood clots after some 7 deaths reported in the UK, four in Norway, one in Denmark.
The reports have prompted more than a dozen countries to either partly or fully suspend the vaccine’s use while the cases are investigated. Most of the nations said they were doing so as a precaution until leading health agencies could review the cases, The New York Times said.
Greek health officials on April 9 were going to review whether to continue using AstraZeneca amid growing fear although statistically there’s been a miniscule number of fatalities, except for the victims and their families.
Greece expects another 1.5 million vaccinations will be conducted in April, which would still bring the total to less than half what’s needed and as the country will open to tourists on May 14, those who have proof of vaccination or a negative test.
And while Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis appealed to older people to get vaccinated, he’s not making inoculation mandatory for health care workers on the front line, many fearful or reluctant despite seeing people ill and dying.
“I call on the aged, I plead with them: Get vaccinated the soonest possible, vaccines are a protection, there are vaccines and appointments available, it is a fundamental act of self-protection,” he told Star TV.