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Politics

Greek Ministers, Politicians Given Priority for First COVID-19 Vaccines

December 29, 2020

ATHENS – After Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and major opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras were among the first in Greece to receive the first COVID-19 vaccines, another 43 ministers and officials were given priority over the elderly and those most susceptible to perish.

They accounted for almost 10 percent of the first order of 9,750 vaccines which require two shots three weeks apart, meaning only 4,875 people can be inoculated, the politicians taking precedence over frontline health workers and others the government said would be first in line.

It wasn’t said how it was decided who in the government or among political parties would be getting some of the first injections but it was declared they had priority in the first phase of a national campaign called Eleftheria (Freedom.)

That began Dec. 27 and will go through Jan. 10, 2021 although the number of doses expected that period will be far short of the millions expected and not enough to effectively slow the spread of the Coronavirus.

Among those already vaccinated were President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, MeRA25 leader Yanis Varoufakis, Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis, government spokesperson Stelios Petsas, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias and the head of the Government Committee for the Coordination and Management of the Vaccinations, Marios Themistokleous, said Kathimerini.

Next in line were members of the secretariat, such as Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis, Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister Akis Skertsos, the Prime Minister's General Secretary Grigoris Dimitriadis and other senior officials not named.

After them will be the ministers and deputy ministers at the Foreign Ministry, the Citizen Protection Ministry (including the Deputy Minister for Civil Protection and Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias and ministry secretary generals), the Defence Ministry and the Migration and Asylum Ministry.

The list also includes ministers and senior officials at the health ministry that have not been vaccinated already, the secretary general for information systems Dimosthenis Anagnostopoulos, the leadership of the armed and security forces and of the National Intelligence Service, the paper said.

A nurse at Evangelismos Hospital got the first shot and then a nursing home patient as the government said the elderly, those with underlying or multiple conditions would have priority after government officials are inoculated.

The first vaccines come from the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and the German firm BioNTech but need to be administered twice, three weeks apart, which means the number of doses received equals enough for only half that.

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