ATHENS – Greece’s program to inoculate at least 70 percent of the population against COVID-19 is far behind scheduled but being accelerated, now with the set-up of a massive mega-center able to deliver 2,400 shots a day.
The first is in the northern Athens suburb of Maroussi, a facility called Prometheus, and three others are due to come online around the country in targeted areas to further speed the scheme aimed at slowing the pandemic.
Prometheus will open Feb. 15 and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited ahead of the launch to get a tour as the European Union, in charge of disbursing various types of vaccines, is trying to speed the pace.
“What we are interested in is that citizens come here, receive the service they deserve, get vaccinated quickly and safely, and we complete this process as fast as possible,” Mitsotakis said.
“This will end when a significant percentage of our fellow citizens have been vaccinated,” said Kathimerini although the most recent report showed less than 5 percent of the population of 10.7 million people had been vaccinated.
The first batches from the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, as well as the next from the United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca require two shots weeks or months apart, meaning two doses are needed.
The mega-center has 48 cubicles set up for now but that will soon double to 96, lifting the daily rate to 5,760 during the 12 hours it’s open daily, the New Democracy government having brought a third more restrictive lockdown.
A second vaccination mega-center will start operating in the country’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki on Feb. 15 inside the building that houses the city’s annual international fair. Its February capacity will be 1,000 vaccinations per day, and 6,480 per day when all inoculation points open, the paper said.
That came after a report there was a slight increase in Coronavirus samples found in the city’s waste load as analyzed by scientists using it to track the spread of COVID-19.
"While there is a rising trend, we see that from one day to the next the increase recorded for the time being is mild," the head of the team, AUTH rector Professor Nikos Papaioannou, told state-run news agency ANA-MPA.
He also said that the readings for an entire week were needed in order to say whether there is a trend toward stabilization. The study is a joint project conducted by scientists from the University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) and the city's water and sewage company (EYATH).