Greece joins EU states limiting AstraZeneca vaccine

Greece on Friday joined other EU states in limiting use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine to those under age 65, awaiting more data on its efficacy on the elderly.

“In Greece, as in other European Union countries, the AstraZeneca vaccine will be used on ages 18-64,” health ministry general secretary Marios Themistokleous told reporters.

There is “insufficient evidence” regarding its use on older people, he said.

France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and other countries have so far put age limits on the vaccine, which was developed by the British-Swedish firm with Oxford University.

Nearly 6,000 deaths in Greece have been attributed to coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, including a 16-year-girl on Wednesday. Over 240 people are in intensive care.

Fewer than 360,000 vaccinations have been carried out in the country of 11 million.

Those aged 60 to 64 are expected to receive inoculation after February 12, Themistokleous said.

Health safety officials on Friday again imposed some restrictions in an ongoing lockdown that had been relaxed over Christmas.

An 6 pm (1600 GMT) curfew was imposed this weekend in Athens and Thessaloniki, and high schools were closed until February 15, a week after reopening.

Vana Papaevangelou, a member of the state coronavirus expert committee, said that average daily cases had increased to nearly 900 this week from 625 a week earlier nationwide.

“The map is red again, in many areas,” she told reporters.