ATHENS – January 16 was the last day for unvaccinated over-60’s in Greece to get their first shot of COVID-19 vaccines or start being fined 100 euros ($114.15) a month, taken out of benefits for pensioners.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who said he reluctantly ordered the mandatory shots for that age group – but not police or other civil servants – made a last-ditch appeal for them to be vaccinated.
For those who hadn’t booked an appointment by the deadline, it was too late to avoid one fine and it wasn’t said how long people would have to wait after that to get a shot or keep being fined.
There’s been no explanation how people in that age group who are working would be assessed the fine, especially if they are in the private sector and can’t have their wages docked with fines.
Government sources not named told the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency that 90 percent of people over 60 are vaccinated or have made an appointment as there was a rush for shots after the fine announcement.
It wasn’t said how many the 10 percent represents as Mitsotakis backed off a pledge to consider mandatory shots for all if the pandemic worsened, and it did on the back of the highly-contagious but less deadly Omicron Variant.
During a visit to a health center in Megara on the western outskirts of Athens he said: “I want to emphasize that, from the moment we imposed this mandatory measure, almost half of those who had not been vaccinated made the right choice to get inoculated. So this measure was successful. We want to increase vaccination rates in the sensitive age group of those over 60.”