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Greek COVID-19 Vaccine Begins Jan. 20: Holocaust Survivor, 98, Inoculated

ΑΤΗΕΝS — After Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and 65 other politicians made sure they were among the first to get a limited first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine, a 98-year-old Holocaust survivor in Thessaloniki did ahead of the Jan. 20 start of a national campagin.

The survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp, identified as Zana, was the first resident of a nursing home in Greece’s second-largest city to be inoculated as teams from the National Public Health Organization (EODY) started vaccinating elderly care unit residents

The president of EODY, Panagiotis Arkoumaneas, was also present during the inoculations, which took place in the morning at the Saul Modiano Nursing Home, said Kathimerini, after nursing home vaccinations in Athens began Jan. 4.

At the same time, the three-phased vaccination of health workers in National Health System hospitals continued after those at Athens’ Sotiria Hospital, the country’s top facility for pulmonary care, complained about politicians getting priority over staff.

Mitsotakis said the rest of the population will start getting their shots Jan. 20 although there’s not enough yet to go around, only about 95,000 – good for 47,500 people as two shots of the first batch from Pfizer-BioNTech are required three weeks apart – being delivered so far.

The government expects more than 2.2 million vaccines coming through the first part of the year, still far short of the 70 percent mark of people being inoculated said needed to contain the pandemic.

The online platform for the electronic booking of inoculation appointments will open on January 11 and Mitsotakis said, "It is imperative for all citizens to register for paperless electronic prescriptions, as this will allow them to receive electronic notifications for their appointments," he said.

He added that 5,000 people a day are being vaccinated, which would take years at that rate, as the government awaits the arrival of more vaccines from other manufacturers, including the Massachusetts-based Moderna next to Boston.

"If this is kept up it will help ensure that the scheduling of vaccinations is met successfully," he added without explaining why 5,000 vaccines a day was enough in a country of 10.5 million people.

By the night of Jan. 5, some 16,365 people had been vaccinated, officials said at the meeting and the current reserve of coronavirus vaccinations numbers 150,850 doses now, as more have begun to arrive, the paper noted.

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