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Editorial

A Difficult but Necessary Decision for Greece

Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis has made a politically difficult decision, but a necessary one. It is the responsible thing to do.

He has resolved to make it mandatory for people over the age of 60 to be vaccinated.

Directly opposed to this sound policy, the leader of the opposition, in a statement reminiscent of the… oracle of Delphi, said: “I am afraid that these measures, for which we – I believe justifiably – criticize him [Prime Minister Mitsotakis], amount to raising the white flag in the vaccination campaign, which becomes an act of sabotage against vaccination.”

Returning to the real world, I must note that it is strange that people in this age group, the most vulnerable to the coronavirus, refuse to be vaccinated. One would expect that they would be the first to do everything they could to get the vaccine – and to get the booster shot – as soon as possible, to protect themselves. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case – with the result being that they get sick, fill the country’s limited number of ICUs…and some of them die.

Their argument is that it is their right to decide what to do with their lives. They ask What right does a government have to decide for them?

It can be said that this is true in many cases. But there are other cases of such mandates: they themselves were vaccinated in elementary school. They must wear seat belts and must stop drinking before they are intoxicated if they are driving… indeed, they did not have ‘the freedom’ to drink before a certain age. So what are we talking about?

In addition in this particular case, their right to decide is in conflict with the general right of society to be healthy.

The cost of their decision, to themselves, and for other members of society – in lives lost and in material damage through economic decline – is very high.

So, despite the fact that the scientific evidence in the case of the coronavirus is completely clear – that is, vaccines are safe and save lives – many governments are reluctant to take action, due to the perceived political costs.

In many countries, unfortunately, there are social movements against vaccines. In some countries, those movements are strong, with the result that those in power are afraid to displease the voters.

But the time has come for the governments and the opposition parties to be called upon to do their duty.

Otherwise, the situation will get even worse and the governments will be forced to implement total lockdowns and other measures that on the one hand will punish the innocent – those who were vaccinated – and on the other hand, will cause great damage to the economy this Christmas season and beyond.

In Greece and other countries, the opposition seems to believe that it can reap political benefits by disagreeing with the current government’s decisions. However, even if one looks at it from a political point of view, while in the short term the government may be harmed, in the long run, it will benefit.

When the coronavirus clouds finally clear, it will become clear that the government decided to protect the people and the country. Thus, people’s trust in the Prime Minister will be further strengthened, with the result that they will entrust him to stay in power for an even longer period of time.

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I wish to begin by thanking The National Herald for highlighting the significance of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ recent visit (‘Ideas for Building on the Success of Mitsotakis’ Visit,’ May 25, 2022).

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