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Church on Crete to serve as vaccination center upon initiative of local priest

In a highly symbolic move, a church in Heraklio, Crete, will serve as vaccination center upon the initiative of the priest in charge, Father Andreas Kaliontzakis.

Located in the village of Acharnes, around 20 minutes from the city of Iraklio, the Church of Panagia Acharnon will serve locals and non-locals alike who want to get their shots against the coronavirus.

Health teams will administered the single-shot vaccine Johnson & Johnson and vaccinations are scheduled to take place on September 6, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Those interested can reportedly register participation with full name and AMKA number until Tuesday, August 31, 2021. Participants can be from any area and region on Crete, media reported.

According to local media ekriti, participants can register at phone numbers of the community: 2813 401141, 2813 401163 and 28933 40104.

The initiative is of special symbolism as a large percentage of anti-vaxxers are associated with the church and the clergy.

“The only weapon against the pandemic is the vaccine,” Father Andreas told cretalive.

Father Andreas who serves at the same church for fifty years said, among others, that “from the very beginning I wanted to help in this crucial situation because the church is interested for the people, for both their soul and body.”

“We are obliged to safeguard the health of our body, the Church cannot sabotage science; theology and science must work together,” he said.

It is the first time that vaccinations will take place inside a church.

The initiative of Father Andreas was hailed by Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias who apparently got also inspired and said on Thursday “we’ll take vaccinations outside the churches.”


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