Addressing the public on Wednesday, Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas announced that there is “strong evidence” that Greece will receive the Covid-19 vaccine before the end of the year, somewhat earlier than previously thought — but it will be fewer doses than the state expected.
“We will get the vaccine earlier because it seems as though European organizations will approve it soon. However, we will receive fewer doses of the vaccine because all of Europe will get less of the vaccine,” Petsas stated on Wednesday.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, additionally stated on Wednesday that each European country will begin inoculations “on the same day,” as soon as the vaccinations are approved in Europe.
Speaking to the European Parliament, von der Leyen said “Within a week, the first vaccine will have been approved, so vaccinations can start immediately … it is a huge undertaking.”
Originally, the medical agency of the European Union was set to meet on December 29 to discuss provisional approval of the Pfizer vaccine, allowing vaccinations to begin in Europe, but after significant pressure from EU member states, the meeting has been moved up to December 21.
Petsas estimated that Greece will receive approximately 300,000 doses from the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer as a first step, which means that 150,000 Greeks will be inoculated, as the vaccine comes in two doses per person.
Considering the mutability of the situation regarding Covid-19, however, this number could easily change, Petsas stressed.
According to the most recent plans released by Greece’s Health Ministry, however, the country will receive approximately 160,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine before December 31, and another 500,000 before the end of January.
Additionally, Greece has ordered 300,000 doses of the vaccine produced by AstraZeneca and 200,000 from Moderna.
The Moderna vaccine received glowing reviews from the United States drug regulatory authority, the Food and Drug Administration, on Tuesday after it determined that it was an astounding 100% effective in preventing infection in those over 65 years of age.
The USFDA is expected to approve the Moderna vaccine by the end of this week.
Healthcare workers, including all hospital staff, will be first to receive the long-awaited vaccine, followed by those who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Although proven to be extremely safe for the majority of the population, the vaccine is not recommended for those with severe allergies, pregnant women, and children under the age of 16.