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Politics

Greek Minister Raises Talk for Mandatory COVID-19 Shots

ATHENS – With little more than 20 percent of the population vaccinated so far against COVID-19 – at least 70 percent is seen needed to slow the pandemic further – the New Democracy government is talking about making shots required.

The public debate on the mandatory vaccination “should not be a taboo” and should include more groups of workers, Alternate Interior Minister Stelios Petsas said, although Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis months earlier said it could be considered for September.

The Premier though hasn't made the shots required for health care workers and Greece has a small but intense group of anti-vaxxers who don't think the vaccines – which have pushed back the pandemic – are safe or effective, disbelieving science.

Petsas was responding to a question on a TV panel about whether teachers should be included among those who should be fully protected before returning to work this fall.

The government has indicated that inoculation could become mandatory for healthcare workers and people employed in nursing homes, while the measure already applies for all members of Greece’s Special Disaster Unit (EMAK) noted Kathimerini.

The government has already discussed giving advantages of some type to those who are fully vaccinated with two shots of most versions or from the single-shot Johnson & Johnson from the United States.

Asked about that idea, Petsas reiterated the government position that any such measures would be introduced only when vaccine supply has outpaced demand in the country if that happens.

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