Greek PM calls on skeptical citizens to get vaccinated

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Saturday called on citizens who remain skeptical about COVID-19 vaccines to get vaccinated.

He made the call at a time when 500,000 vaccinations have been carried out across the country.

“We are fully focused on the commitment we have made to vaccinate our fellow citizens, who want to be vaccinated, as quickly and safely as possible, depending on the flow of vaccines we receive each week,” Mitsotakis said while visiting one of the country’s four mega vaccination centers established recently to speed up the vaccination process, according to an e-mailed statement.

The mega vaccination center in Athens, transformed from an exhibition center, will open on Monday to host up to 5,760 people each day.

“This adventure will end when a significant percentage of our fellow citizens have been vaccinated…We need to convince the rest of our fellow citizens, who may still be skeptical, that vaccines are both safe and effective,” he added.

Greece started vaccinations against COVID-19 on Dec. 27, 2020. Vaccination is free and on a voluntary basis in the country. Following health professionals and residents at nursing homes, the elderly are currently getting vaccinated.

Some 74 percent of respondents in a recent survey conducted for local SKAI TV said that they intend to get inoculated, but 21 percent were categorically against the vaccination.

Greece is currently under a nationwide lockdown, which started on Nov. 7. The country recorded on Friday 1,410 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, bringing its total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 170,244.

Greek authorities also announced 21 new deaths on Friday, bringing the total number of deaths to 6,077.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in some countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 242 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide — 63 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Feb. 9.