Greece Moves Toward Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations for Most

Αssociated Press

A memeber of the medical staff at a vaccination center during a presentation for media by the Greek Health Ministry in Athens, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS – Greece's National Bioethics Committee will likely recommend that certain social and professional groups must be vaccinated against COVID-19 as the country is struggling to reach a 70 percent of the population benchmark needed to beat back the pandemic.

The report was due June 18 for Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis who urged everyone in the country to be inoculated but said he wouldn't force health care workers in fear those who resist wouldn't be available to battle the crisis.

The requirement would begin in the autumn, said Kathimerini, to give time to allow everyone a chance to have the vaccinations if they want although there is a small but hard-core group of doubters who think the shots are not safe or effective of a government-pharmaceutical industry conspiracy to change their DNA.

For now, the paper said, the government will continue to use persuasion that has failed against a small nucleus of people who don't want to be vaccinated, the hope being to reach people who are on the fence.

The committee said people can also choose the vaccines they want – many are shunning the United Kingdom's AstraZeneca over fears of blood clots after fatalities were reported – and said there should more centers so people won't have to travel too far to get to them.

The committee is set to insist on the need for information campaigns over the summer targeting specific groups, such as health professionals, educators, young people and the elderly who haven't been vaccinated, the report added.

Public workers who refuse to be vaccinated won't be fired but transferred to areas where they won't be near the public.

Fully vaccinated people will have benefits that include being allowed to eat indoors in restaurants, go to gyms without masks as well as movies and also won't have to take self tests.