The vaccine for the coronavirus (Covid-19) is expected to be available to Greece’s general population in mid-January, according to General Secretary of Primary Health Care Mario Themistokleous.
Speaking during Monday’s Covid-19 media briefing, Themistokleous gave details on the government’s vaccination operation dubbed “Eleftheria” (Freedom) and explained the process that will be followed from the moment Greece receives the vaccines (storage, safety protocols) to the point when the vaccination of the general population will begin.
Covid-19 vaccination schedule, priority population groups
– December 26: Greek authorities will receive the first batch of the Pfizer vaccine and specifically 9,750 doses.
– December 27: the first vaccinations will be performed in the reference hospitals of Attica (Attiko, Evangelismos, Sotiria, Thriasio, Asklipieio Voulas).
– December 28: the vaccine will be distributed to the university hospitals of Larissa, Thessaloniki (AHEPA), Ioannina and Patras, for medical staff to be vaccinated on the 29th.
– December 30: Greek authorities expect to receive a larger vaccine batch from Pfizer – 83,850 doses.
– Following the vaccination of frontline healthcare workers and vulnerable groups that have priority, the vaccinations of the general population will begin some time during the second ten days of January 2021.
Themistokleous added that by the end of January, 429,000 doses of the vaccine will be delivered to Greece by Pfizer, while vaccines of other companies that will receive approval will be gradually added. From Pfizer alone, Greece expects 1,265,550 doses by March.
EU gives greenlight for Pfizer vaccine
Greece’s announcements came after the European Commission on Monday granted conditional marketing authorisation to the vaccine produced by BioNTech and Pfizer, this way making available the first Covid-19 vaccine for European citizens.
“Today we add an important chapter in our fight against Covid-19… The European Medicines Agency assessed this vaccine thoroughly and it concluded that it is safe and effective against Covid-19. Based on this scientific assessment, we proceeded to authorise it for the European Union market,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement to the press.
According to the Commission’s president, the vaccine will be available for all EU countries, at the same time, on the same conditions.
The first batches of the vaccine will be shipped from Pfizer’s manufacturing site in Belgium within the next days.
“I have always said, during this pandemic, that we are in this together. So vaccination can start at the same time, during the European Union vaccination days, on 27, 28 and 29 December. This is a very good way to end this difficult year, and to finally start turning the page on Covid-19,” she added.
PM Mitsotakis among first in line for vaccine in Greece
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday met with the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, and informed her about the course of the pandemic and the plan for the vaccination of citizens.
The Greek PM said he will be vaccinated against the coronavirus on December 27, aiming to set a good example for others.
Referring to the course of the pandemic, Mitsotakis said that the epidemiological situation in Greece has been looking “significantly better” in recent days.
“Nevertheless it is absolutely clear that we must be extremely careful during the holidays so as not to face another outbreak of the virus in the first month of 2021,” he said.
Greek health authorities on Monday announced 526 new coronavirus cases and 85 deaths. Since the start of the pandemic, the total number of cases in the country has reached 131,597. The Covid-19 death toll in Greece is 4,257.