Hoping to speed a vaccination scheme to try to slow the COVID-19 pandemic, Greece will use the single-shot version from the US company Johnson & Johnson that has been investigated after blood clots caused several deaths.
That will begin May 5 as only about 7 percent of the country’s population of 10.7 million has been fully vaccinated – the other doses from Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Moderna requiring two shots weeks or two months apart.
Health authorities said the country needs to reach 70 percent, or some 7.49 million people, for vaccines to be effective in working against the lingering pandemic, more than a year after it began.
The use of the J&J vaccine was due to begin April 19 but was set back to allow European and Greek health officials time to review its safety because of the blood clot incidents that were similar to those by AstraZeneca.
“Vaccines are the solution to this huge health crisis, that is the way to get our lives back,” said Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias, the Reuters news agency said, adding that Greece plans to vaccinate 2.5 million more in May and 4 millionin June.
To speed up the process, vaccinations will be done also on weekends and will be available at private clinics as well and a platform for those 30-39 to register for shots will open April 27 for AstraZeneca.
“Vaccines are the solution to this huge health crisis, that is the way to get our lives back,” said Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias.
Authorities will open the vaccinations platform for those aged 30 to 39 years on April 27 for jabs with the AstraZeneca vaccine, said Marios Themistocleous, Secretary General in charge of vaccinations.
The platform for 55-59-year-olds without serious underlying diseases opened and there were 138,000 bookings over the first two days but there are worries among Greek health officials, however, that the young will refuse to take AstraZeneca despite assurances any side effects, especially dangerous, are extremely rare.
Already, a large number of people assigned to get the AstraZeneca shot didn’t show up for appointments and many others frantically tried to switch to Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, made by a Cambridge, Massachusetts firm.
The European Commission is preparing to launch legal proceedings against vaccine maker AstraZeneca, Politico reported, citing five unnamed European Union diplomats.
At a meeting of ambassadors, a majority of the European Union countries said they would support suing the company over complaints it failed to deliver pledged doses to the bloc, the report also added.
The point for the legal proceedings is to make it mandatory for AstraZeneca to provide the doses set out in its EU contract, the report stated, citing one unnamed diplomat.
Read more at thenationalherald.com
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Original article: Greece will use J&J COVID-19 vaccine despite several blood clot reports.