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Greece Hits 1 Million COVID-19 Vaccinations: 6.5 Million More Needed

ATHENS – After a slow start, Greece’s COVID-19 vaccination program on March 4 will reach the one million mark, but another 6.5 million more must be done to be effective in slowing the pandemic’s spread.

Health officials said at least 70 percent of the country’s population of 10.7 million people – or some 7.49 million – is needed to achieve a level of immunity that will work against the Coronavirus, lingering after more than a year.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a pre-recorded message put online it’s the result of an “organized and fast” inoculation campaign without mentioning it’s way behind schedule or that politicians and the privileged were among the first to get the shots, ahead of others.

“With each passing week, we build the wall of immunity that will allow us to leave this health crisis behind,” he said. “In fact, from April, we will have many more doses at our disposal. And as the weather improves, it will become our ally,” he added.

“But it remains a crucial challenge for everyone,” he continued, adding that the new variants, especially from the United Kingdom, are surfacing more and a more contagious, adding to the numbers in hospitals and Intensive Care Units (ICUs.)

He also urged on March 4 to observe Tsiknopempti – the Thursday 11 days before the beginning of the Greek Orthodox Lent fast when Greek traditionally gather to eat grilled meat – with their family and avoid eating with friends, in a bid to prevent the fast spread of the virus.

“It would be a pity to do great harm now that we can see the end,” he said as a further tightened lockdown went into effect after it wasn’t working because it was too lenient and saw people claim to be out in their cars going for exercise elsewhere.

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