Greece started on Wednesday using the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) coronavirus vaccine to inoculate its citizens in the ongoing battle against the pandemic.
The vaccine, which is still the only one that protects people from the coronavirus with only a single dose, has already been shipped to Greece. A total of 33,600 doses of the vaccine have already been delivered to the country, with more on the way.
Greece to use the J&J coronavirus vaccine
The vaccinations are expected to help Greece speed up the process of getting the majority of its citizens inoculated. The agreement Greece has struck with J&J has it receiving a total of 300,000 doses in May and 960,000 more doses in June.
If the vaccination program in Greece goes to plan, the country should have vaccinated 2.5 million people in May and 4 million by June. In order to achieve this, vaccination centers will remain open on weekends and coronavirus vaccines will also be available from private clinics.
J&J vaccine deemed safe
The news that Greece will begin to administer J&J vaccines comes after fallout from the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The agency cited a disturbing link to at least one death and the hospitalization of a second vaccinated woman for thrombosis.
The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) placed a pause on the use of the J & J vaccine at all federal inoculation sites and they said at the time that they “urged” states to do the same while they investigate the safety of the vaccine.
A total of six individuals in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within about two weeks of becoming vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson product, according to officials.
In April, the European Medicines Agency said that there was a possible link between the J&J coronavirus vaccine and blood clots. However, it deemed the risks lower than the benefit of increasing vaccination rates, and therefore moved to put blood clots on the list of “very rare” side effects for the vaccine.
Young people get the coronavirus vaccine in Greece
Greeks aged 30-44 are now eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine, and beginning on Saturday, those who are 45-49 will be able to make appointments to get the shot; judging from the interest shown so far, it appears vaccinations in these age groups will be very much sought-after.
On Thursday alone, when vaccination appointments first became available for Greeks who are 40 to 44 years old, a total of 66,210 people reserved a spot for the shot. Of this total, 32,547 made an appointment for their first dose of the vaccine.
In total, 3,075,698 coronavirus vaccines have been administered in Greece, of which over two million were the first dose of the shot, and just under one million were the second dose.