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Greece’s COVID Vaccination Program Stumbling, Shots Not Required

ATHENS – Despite worries about a rising Delta variant and defiance of remaining health measures aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic, Greece's New Democracy government is staying with a failing persuasion campaign uring people to be inoculated as cases have jumped again.

Guided by a list compiled by the National Public Health Organization (EODY), Alternate Interior Minister Stelios Petsas is going to continue the same approach to urge people to be inoculated, in the face of a small but strong anti-vaxxer resistance.

Of 332 municipalities throughout the country, 82 – one in four – have a vaccination rate of less than 30 percent and 50 are below 25 percent, reported Kathimerini about the lagging effort to get people vaccinated, which had been working to slow cases before they exploded again.

Mathematical models show that vaccinations begin to taper off once a threshold close to 40 percent is reached, the report said, adding another worry as the populations of those with the least vaccinations range from 10,000-50,000, among the highest densities in the country.

The government’s plan entails door-to-door visits with the participation of local officials who are thought to have influence in their local communities which hasn't worked and with virulent opposition from those refusing shos.

The campaign crew will include mayors, clergy, teachers, doctors, businessmen as Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he can't force health workers or others to be vaccinated although he has the authority to do so.

Little more than 38 percent of the country's population of 10.7 million has been vaccinated but health officials said at least 70 percent must be inoculated to beat back the pandemic but the government still isn't moving toward mandatory shots despite the public health hazard.

Unnamed government sources told Kathimerini that, especially in the smaller communities, the increase of the percentage of vaccinations is more feasible with this sort of targeted mobilization.

For example, the popular tourist island of Mykonos currently appears to be 108% vaccinated based on its population as many visitors living in other areas have been vaccinated on the island and as the government had said it would vaccinate 100 percent of the residents of scores of islands, which hasn't happened in full yet despite the worries.

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