ATHENS – With only 96,300 COVID-19 vaccines having arrived – not the millions expected – Greece is spreading them out to dozens of hospitals around the country in a plan to immunize the most vulnerable after politicians were given priority.
The New Democracy government said the plan is to inoculate 5,000 people a day in a country with a population of more than 10.5 million, the first vaccines requiring two shots three weeks apart.
That means there’s enough now only for 46,800 people but the government said it expects millions more doses through the early part of 2021, a rate which would still take at least a year to hit the 70 percent mark of the population to be effective, and with resistance from people who won’t take it.
The 42 hospitals receiving the shots on Jan. 4 come on top of 18 that have been administering vaccinations since the start of the campaign that began after the Christmas holidays, said Kathimerini.
The plan is for an additional 55 mainland hospitals to join the program by January 8 and 19 island hospitals by January 12 after 66 political leaders and government officials as well as from rival parties went to the head of the line.
Military hospitals are also joining the list gradually, while private healthcare facilities also started vaccinating their medical staff on Jan. 4, with healthcare workers given priority, followed by people who work in care homes, shelters and other state-run accommodation facilities too.
Next comes those with chronic illnesses that make them particularly vulnerable to the Coronavirus, the elderly, those with underlying or multiple conditions or considered at risk before it gets to the younger sector.
The government plan is to have more than 100,000 people injected against COVID-19 by Jan. 20 in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus after a lenient second lockdown didn’t work.
Military hospitals are also joining the list gradually, while private healthcare facilities also started vaccinating their medical staff, the paper also said.