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Greece offers COVID-19 vaccines outside churches

ARJANES, Greece (AP) – Greece began administering COVID-19 vaccines outside of churches on Monday as part of a pilot program to encourage more people to protect themselves against the disease.

Mobile units of the National Health Organization began administering injections in the courtyard of a church in Arjanes, on the southern island of Crete.

The Johnson and Johnson single-dose vaccine is being given. 52 appointments were scheduled for the first day, but some people came without appointments and were vaccinated.

Last month, the government announced the plan to administer vaccines in town squares outside of churches, initially in Crete and then to the country’s main cities.

The authorities have tried to boost Greece’s vaccination campaign with a series of incentives and have sought the support of the country’s powerful Orthodox Church. Vaccination against COVID-19 is mandatory for healthcare workers in the public and private sector, while certain entertainment venues, such as covered restaurants and bars, will be accessible only to those who have a certificate of vaccination or that they have recovered. recently from illness.

“There is no other solution to this great danger that plagues humanity more than vaccines,” said Father Andreas Kaliontzakis, a priest of the Church of the Virgin Mary, where they were vaccinating on Monday.

Vaccines against the coronavirus are freely available in Greece to anyone with a social security number over 12 years old. So far, more than 5.7 million people have completed his scheme, approximately 50% of the population. The country has a total of nearly 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 13,800 deaths.

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