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Vaccination of the Elderly at Greek Nursing Homes Launched on Monday

ATHENS — The vaccination of elderly residents at nursing homes against the coronavirus began on Monday, by the mobile medical units of the National Public Health Organization (EODY).

The first inoculation was carried out at the "Christian Love Home" at Melissia, in Athens.

The health ministry plans to have the residents of all nursing homes vaccinated by January 20. Vaccinations were expanded from 9 to 50 hospitals nationwide on Monday.

Nearly 10,000 people have received the jab since Dec. 27, more than half of them on Monday, while the target for the end of January is 220,000.

Meanwhile, daily new confirmed infections remained within three digits — 427 on Monday — a considerable improvement from a high of more than 3,500 in November. Health officials reported 54 new deaths, compared with a daily record of 120 in November.

The overall death toll in the country of nearly 11 million is about 5,000.

The European Union, meanwhile, defended its vaccination strategy Monday amid growing criticism about the slow rollout of COVID-19 shots across the 27-nation bloc of 450 million inhabitants.

EU Commission spokesman Eric Mamer said the main problem “is an issue of production capacity, an issue that everybody is facing.”

The EU has sealed six vaccines contracts with a variety of manufacturers. But only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for use so far across the EU. The EU's drug regulators are expected to decide on Wednesday whether to recommend authorizing the Moderna vaccine.

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