Lines in Thessaloniki for COVID-19 Shots Without Appointments

THESSALONIKI – People in Greece eager to get vaccinated against COVID-19 without a long wait for an appointment at a center are turning to mobile units where they can just show up, leading to a long queue in Thessaloniki.

People lined up in Greece’s second-largest city in the main Aristotelous Square for their shots from units set up by the National Organization for Public Health (EODY) to boost inoculation rates.

The city and region have been symbols of defiance against vaccinations and health measures aimed at slowing the spread of the Coronavirus with fears it will spread even more rapidly through the Omicron Variant.

Health authorities urged people who have booked an appointment online to cancel it before getting inoculated at a mobile unit to avoid confusion at centers where they were scheduled to be vaccinate.

“The vaccination program is being strengthened throughout the country in all facilities to meet the growing interest of citizens who understand that the vaccine is the only way to protect against the coronavirus,” Panagiotis Boyiatzidis, administrator at the country’s 3rd Health Region, told GRTimes.

As the pandemic worsened in the autumn, more people who had resisted getting the shots changed their minds in the face of rising cases, hospitalizations, patients in public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and deaths.

Third booster shots are now being given as well as for children 5-11 as the New Democracy government wants to raise the current level of those fully vaccinated, now at about 62 percent, to the 70 percent mark that health officials said is needed to beat back the pandemic more effectively.


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