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Greece Passes 20 Million COVID Vaccinations, Anti-Vaxxers Hold Firm

ATHENS – As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches a third year in March, Greek health officials said more than 20 million vaccinations have been given, with 71 percent of minors and 80 percent of adults fully protected.

That is higher than the 70 percent it was said had to be met to slow the pandemic, which is receding, as well as the number of cases and deaths and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis moves toward an economic recovery focus.

Some 75 percent of the general population and 84 percent of those in the country of 10.7 million people had been given one shot of versions requiring three, including a booster.

But rabid anti-vaxxers have still refused and spread the Coronavirus, hindering a quicker recovery and not being required to be inoculated after Mitsotakis backed away from a pledge to mandate shots if the pandemic worsened.

The vaccination program began 14 months earlier and stalled over the summer of 2021 before the pandemic got worse because of the Delta and Omicron variations that appeared.

Some 5.26 million people have already had a booster shot, representing 90 percent of those eligible for it, the Health Ministry said in its daily briefing on the course of the pandemic, said Kathimerini.

But some 300,000 over 60 years old who’ve refused are now being fined 100 euros ($113.44) monthly until they do, but not have the money deducted from wages or pensions but tacked onto tax bills that can be paid over time.

Only they and health care workers – who are suspended for refusing shots  – are required to be vaccinated, not groups such as police enforcing health measures and tourism workers as the country sets to welcome visitors again.

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