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Nearly 1 Million Greeks Have Gotten One Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine

ATHENS — Vaccines against Covid-19 do protect those who receive them from being hospitalized and also from death, but they do not offer protection from other diseases which should not be related with said vaccines, said head of the Greek National Vaccination Committee Maria Theodoridou at Monday's live briefing.

Concerning the AstraZeneca vaccine, she said that Greece aligned itself with the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization and thus it continues to inoculate citizens with it, while keeping a close eye on all the latest scientific findings. Citizens do come to vaccination centers to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, as "there are no indications that there exists a high risk of thrombosis, but checks do continue", she noted.

Inoculation remains the only solution for safeguarding oneself from the coronavirus, and any side effects should first be corroborated before they are allowed to cause any uncertainty, she pointed out.

The professor underlined that the coronavirus still disperses within hospitals from people that should have been vaccinated by priority, and expressed hope that the currently low percentage of inoculated medical staff will soon improve.

Speaking at the same briefing, Health Secretary General for Primary Health Care Marios Themistokleous said more than 29,000 vaccinations were carried out on Monday.

Overall, Greece has vaccinated over 1,464,000 people against Covid-19 up to now, he added. The number of citizens who will have received the first dose of the vaccine by the end of scheduled inoculations on Tuesday will surpass 1 million, he added.

He noted that Greece is currently expecting delivery of 500,000 doses by AstraZeneca in the rest of March and another 450,000 doses in April.

Some 100,000 appointments have been booked by people who belong in high-risk groups since the platform opened on March 19, he underlined. Organ transplant patients began receiving the vaccine on Monday, while the entire group of these patients is expected to have been vaccinated by the beginning of April. He said it is expected appointments to open for citizens with high-risk health issues aged 70-74 on March 26 and 65-69 in the beginning of April.

Vaccination of the country's teachers will begin mid-May, said the health official.

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer is expected to deliver 1,100.000 doses of its vaccine to Greece, AstraZeneca another 450,000 doses, Moderna 100,000 doses and Johnson & Johnson some 1.2 million doses, all over the next three months.

Another 272 vaccination centers will open in the beginning of April, reaching 1,073 centers nationwide, he added.

National health system is standing upright

The national health system is standing upright as it never succumbed to the pressures of the pandemic, said Health Minister Vassilis Kikillias, speaking on ANT1 TV on Monday evening.

"We are here, supporting the country's national health system (…) and I will not allow panic to (be) spread and our efforts be undermined", he noted.

He did however say that 240 Covid-19 patients were admitted in Attica hospitals on Sunday alone.

The situation will stay critical throughout this week, while evidence of stabilization might become apparent as of next week, he stressed.

At least 140 intensive care beds have become available from the private health sector, he noted.

On the government's decision to requisition doctors in the private sector, the minister said this was "inevitable", as only 61 doctors had willingly responded to the ministry's first call for their contribution.

Some 1.5 mln vaccinations are expected to be carried out in April, while available vaccine doses will be more than doubled in May and June, the minister underlined.

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