ATHENS – Just as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to be contained by vaccinations, Greece's unvaccinated who refuse to be inoculated are spreading it anew, driven by the surging Delta Variant from Indian that's now dominant.
Despite the rising cases, including on islands where tourism workers don't have to be vaccinated, and the risk to public health and tourism, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis still hasn't made shots mandatory apart from health workers.
Only half of the country's population of 10.7 million people have been fully protected with two shots of most required versions, and 70 percent is the benchmark needed to push back the pandemic.
Mitsotakis and New Democracy government's campaign of urging, pleading and cajoling people to be vaccinated has largely failed as there is a hard-core element of anti-vaxxers who believe they are not safe or effective or a conspiracy to alter their DNA or minds and so pharmaceutical companies can make money.
The unvaccinated are also refilling hospitals and Intensive Care Units where the numbers had been falling, with the number of cases up 8-10 times over earlier in the summer when tourists began being admitted – those who were vaccinated, had a negative PCR test or proof of having recovered from the Coronavirus.
Health officials said the Deltav Variant made up 73 percent of cases diagnosed between July 5-27 by the National Genomic Surveillance Network as cases were also spreading to teens as the government shots for those 12-15 years old.