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Greece Mobilizing to Move First COVID-19 Vaccination Batches (Vid)

December 20, 2020

ATHENS – Greece will use its police, Coast Guard and the Armed Forces to transfer the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines that must be kept at ultra deep freeze temperatures of -72 Celsius (-161.6 Fahrenheit) for safety and efficacy.

The first vaccines approved, from the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German company BioNTech, are due to arrive Dec. 26 and the first shots given he day after, with front line workers at the Sotiria Hospital in Athens, which specializes in pulmonary care, among the first to get it.

Greece had expected millions of doses but will get only 300,000 for now, good enough only to inject 150,000 people as two shots must be given weeks apart and there is worry about mass resistance when more arrive, people afraid of side effects.

The operation, said Kathimerini, includes guarding five specially equipped warehouses where the vaccines will be stored after their arrival, watched over by police, the fire brigade, and helicopters and drones used for surveillance.

Their location has not been disclosed for security reasons, but it is certain they are in Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete and Thessaly, the paper said without identifying sources or giving any attribution.

The vaccines will be transferred to the 1,108 vaccination centers – which will increase over time – in special refrigerator trucks with police escorts. The plan foresees 750 transfer per day with planes taking it to islands and other areas.

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