ATHENS – Now even more restrictions likely being put upon them, the unvaccinated in Greece are lining up to be inoculated against the COVID-19 pandemic that has worsened with growing cases, deaths, hospitalizations and patients on ventilators in public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs.)
The number of people being vaccinated has jumped markedly, as many as 230,000 in one day but only little more than 62 percent of the country’s population of 10.7 million has been inoculated, far short of the 70 percent needed to slow the pandemic.
That’s not enough and surveys commissioned by the government found that anti-vaxxers will never be persuaded to take the shot even as Mitsotakis said he won’t force them to despite the cost to the health system and lives.
The polls couldn’t accurately determine why the skeptics won’t be vaccinated, and that the persuasion campaign has failed to change their mind, but the government said it’s sticking to the plan that’s not working.
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Those who do come around to being vaccinated said they were finally convinced by a family doctor or someone they trust, not the government’s constant pitching or from health experts they don’t know.
The New Democracy government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has backed away from his pledge to consider mandatory shots, apart from health care workers who face suspension without them.
Instead, the strategy is to require the unvaccinated to show negative rapid or molecular PCR tests when they enter all retail outlets, including hair salons, cafes, restaurants and other mixed venues.
Supermarkets, pharmacies and churches have been exempted with no explanation why people couldn’t contract the often deadly virus in those atmospheres that are just as crowded, if not more so.
Mitsotakis has focused almost solely on an economic recovery and ruled out the prospect of any more lockdowns in a bid to bring in revenues, even over the advice of his advisory panel of doctors and scientists.
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A persuasion campaign has largely failed to convince skeptics and anti-vaxxers who don’t think the shots are safe or effective or that it’s an international conspiracy to alter their DNA or control their minds.
But more people who had been reluctant to be vaccinated are doing so in the face of the health dangers and cost of restrictions, even as the public health system is buckling under the pressure of dealing with the unvaccinated.
But the government has repeatedly delayed recruiting private doctors and clinics to help despite saying it would do so, the burden growing on the National Health System (ESY,) said Kathimerini.
The paper said that scientists are calling for mass flu vaccinations as well fearing a collision between the illnesses and a possible “twin attack” aimed squarely at the unvaccinated, some of whom have willingly died instead of being protected.
Curiously, the vaccinated who are still at risk from the unvaccinated aren’t in favor of mandatory shots although even those fully protected are being urged to take booster shots.
The same research also showed that even the vaccinated, although annoyed at the unvaccinated because of the impact their stance is having on society, do not want to see an extension of mandatory inoculation.
The hope is that the pandemic will start to wane on its own although Deputy Health Minister Dr. Mina Gaga said that the government should require even more testing of the unvaccinated during a fourth wave of the crisis.