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Greece Wants All Adults Vaccinated Against COVID-19 by July

ATHENS – Still hoping save the summer season for tourists and domestic travel, Greece's New Democracy government plans to get all willing adults partially vaccinated against COVID-19, although the shots won't yet be mandatory.

Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias “The target … is for all adults to be able to find vaccines and to be vaccinated by end-June to early July,” with one of two required shots for most versions, although the single shot Johnson & Johnson is now being used in smaller numbers.

He said that's dependent on there being no delays in the delivery of supplies through the European Union's flawed and cumbersome distribution method,  but didn't say if being vaccinated would become a requirement.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis already has said he won't force health care workers to get the shots and there were reports his government instead would offer them bonuses if they did as an incentive.

Health experts said Greece must fully inoculate 70 percent of its population of 10.7 million – some 7.49 million people – to slow the pandemic, but so far only about 10 percent have.

But the program is being stepped up, with more than 100,000 shots given on May 5 and a goal of 2.3 million by the end of the month, which would bring the total of at least one shot to 5 million, he also said.

The vaccinations aren't working enough yet to work against the pandemic, with some 1,776 cases on May 5 and at least 20,000 infections across the country, he said, although the government is going to allow tourists and inter-regional travel for those with proof of vaccinations or negative Coronavirus tests.

The government said that if the goals aren't met that the vaccinations could become mandatory in September, which could mean that people who refuse could find themselves locked out of work or travel or face other sanctions otherwise.

The younger generation, with its huge participation in vaccination, provides an example, said Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in a tweet on Thursday.

"The young, with their mass participation in the vaccination, are providing an example. Extremely positive news for public health and economic activity that a total of 5,000,000 vaccinations are expected to have been performed by the end of May," he said.

Most Greeks aged 30-44 will have been vaccinated before the end of May

Greece hopes to have vaccinated at least 33 percent of the population with at least one dose by the end of May, Secretary General of Primary Health Care Marios Themistocleous said during a regular live briefing on Wednesday.

In the first briefing after the Orthodox Easter holidays, Themistocleous said that up to Wednesday 2.26 million citizens (or 21.5 pct of the population) had been vaccinated with the first dose and nearly 1 million (10 pct) with both. The target for the end of May is to have 5.4 million vaccinations, with 3.5 million related to the first dose (33 pct of the population) and nearly 2 million with the second (18 pct).

Today's (May 5) vaccinations may reach 110,000, he noted.

Themistocleous broke down the vaccination rates per age group, with the youngest groups proceeding at a clip since the recent opening of the platform for them. Following is the vaccination rates per age group that he presented.

30-39: 177,000 people have set up 354,000 appointments; 65,000 have already been vaccinated. The majority of this group is expected to be vaccinated by mid-May.

40-44: 117,750 people have set up 235,000 appointments; 31,000 have already been vaccinated. The majority of this group will be vaccinated within the next 2 weeks.

45-49: 250,000 appointments have been set up and 3,112 people have already been vaccinated.

The older groups, which were prioritized during the rollout of vaccination in Greece, stand as follows:

Over 85: 63 pct is vaccinated with at least one dose (68 pct, if appointments are incorporated)

80-84: 63 pct is vaccinated with at least one dose (68 pct with appointments)

75-79: 73 pct is vaccinated (80 pct w/a). Themistocleous said that this group had the highest vaccination rate.

70-74: 58 pct is vaccinated (74 pct w/a)

65-69: 40 pct is vaccinated (74 pct w/a)

60-64: 53 pct is vaccinated with one dose (67 pct w/a)

Themistocleous also reviewed the number of vaccines expected to be delivered by Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson (the use of which began Wednesday), and AstraZeneca in May. He said more vaccination centers will be added in May to those already in use (1,500) and will include private facilities as well.

Greece hopes to have vaccinated at least 33 percent of the population with at least one dose by the end of May, Secretary General of Primary Health Care Marios Themistocleous said during a regular live briefing on Wednesday.

In the first briefing after the Orthodox Easter holidays, Themistocleous said that up to Wednesday 2.26 million citizens (or 21.5 pct of the population) had been vaccinated with the first dose and nearly 1 million (10 pct) with both. The target for the end of May is to have 5.4 million vaccinations, with 3.5 million related to the first dose (33 pct of the population) and nearly 2 million with the second (18 pct).

Today's (May 5) vaccinations may reach 110,000, he noted.

Themistocleous broke down the vaccination rates per age group, with the youngest groups proceeding at a clip since the recent opening of the platform for them. Following is the vaccination rates per age group that he presented.

30-39: 177,000 people have set up 354,000 appointments; 65,000 have already been vaccinated. The majority of this group is expected to be vaccinated by mid-May.

40-44: 117,750 people have set up 235,000 appointments; 31,000 have already been vaccinated. The majority of this group will be vaccinated within the next 2 weeks.

45-49: 250,000 appointments have been set up and 3,112 people have already been vaccinated.

The older groups, which were prioritized during the rollout of vaccination in Greece, stand as follows:

Over 85: 63 pct is vaccinated with at least one dose (68 pct, if appointments are incorporated)

80-84: 63 pct is vaccinated with at least one dose (68 pct with appointments)

75-79: 73 pct is vaccinated (80 pct w/a). Themistocleous said that this group had the highest vaccination rate.

70-74: 58 pct is vaccinated (74 pct w/a)

65-69: 40 pct is vaccinated (74 pct w/a)

60-64: 53 pct is vaccinated with one dose (67 pct w/a)

Themistocleous also reviewed the number of vaccines expected to be delivered by Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson (the use of which began Wednesday), and AstraZeneca in May. He said more vaccination centers will be added in May to those already in use (1,500) and will include private facilities as well.

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