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UPDATE 1-Greece to start J&J coronavirus vaccinations on May 5

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(Adds details, health minister comment) 

  ATHENS, April 21 (Reuters) - Greece plans to start the rollout of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine on May 5 after Europe's drug regulator backed its use, health authorities said on Wednesday. 

  "We expect decisions by the CDC and FDA on Friday and then by our national committee on vaccinations in the following days. Vaccinations will begin on May 5," said Marios Themistocleous, secretary general in charge of vaccinations. 

  Greece had been expected to start J&J vaccinations on Monday before questions emerged over reports of very rare blood clotting disorders associated with the vaccine. 

  "Vaccines are the solution to this huge health crisis, that is the way to get our lives back," said Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias. 

  Greece will have vaccinated 2.5 million people in May and 4.0 million by June, the minister said. To speed up the process, vaccinations will be done also on weekends and will be available at private clinics as well. 

  Authorities will open the vaccinations platform for those aged 30 to 39 years on April 27 for jabs with the AstraZeneca vaccine, Themistocleous said. (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos, Editing by William Maclean)