ATHENS – Although the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were being reserved for frontline healthcare workers and the most vulnerable, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he will take the injections.
Although he’s not in the elderly age group nor the most susceptible – those with underlying conditions – he said he would get his first vaccination on Dec. 27, the Pfizer-BioNTech version requiring a second a couple of weeks later.
That will launch a national campaign to persuade people the vaccine is safe and effective although Greece will get 300,000 doses – enough for 150,000 people – not the millions the New Democracy government said were coming.
In a meeting with President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Mitsotakis said that ministries had made a great, collective effort “to make sure that the nationwide immunization program runs as quickly, effective and safe as possible,” said Kathimerini.
“(The vaccine) has been approved by all the competent authorities,” Mitsotakis said. “I have pledged to get the vaccine on the first day it becomes available in Greece,” he said.
Several world leaders were vaccinated, some on live television, in an attempt to boost public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines as doubt remains among skeptics and anti-vaccine groups, including in Greece.
He also briefed Sakellaropoulou on the overall picture of the market, saying that the operation of the new 'click away' shopping is satisfactory and has allowed the market to work better and offered relief to all shops.
Additionally, he referred to the plan for nationwide vaccination, underlining that the vaccine is safe and effective as it is approved by all the responsible agencies and adding that he will be vaccinated on the first day the vaccine arrives in Greece, which will hopefully be on December 27.
Mitsotakis said that 2020 was a tumultuous year, adding that "I am cautiously optimistic that in 2021 we will leave the pandemic behind us and manage to get back to high growth rates".
On her part, President Sakellaropoulou underlined that 2020 has been a very difficult year, adding that "the conjucture is very bad because we Greeks are very extrovert as a nation and very close to the family and these days we need to meet with our loved ones and celebrate together. This is something we will have to give up for now and stick to the inner core of the family, protecting the elderly and one another."
Sakellaropoulou also noted that, while this was a very difficult period, it was positive that the world can now see a light at the end of the tunnel: "chiefly because of the vaccines, which all of Europe is preparing to receive as soon as they are approved. We may all have come under great pressure – some more than others – but we will soon have a positive result."