ATHENS – Appointments for a first vaccination have jumped sharply in the first 24 hours after the government announced that vaccination for people over 60 will be made mandatory, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in an interview with journalist Mark Bendeich during the Reuters NEXT digital conference on Wednesday.
“I am certain that we are following an effective policy,” Mitsotakis said, adding that the measure was “proportionate” given the lag in vaccination rates and the fact that the government had previously tried every available means of persuasion to boost their number.
With the measure due to be voted on in parliament later the same day, the prime minister pointed out that unvaccinated elderly people currently made up 90 pct of patients occupying ICU beds in Greek state hospitals.
He said that the 100-euro monthly administrative fine for those that fail to comply was “reasonable” and would be collected by tax authorities, adding that Greece must increase the vaccination rate for both a first dose and booster shots, pointing out that Greece was the first EU country to give the entire population access to a Covid vaccine booster.
Mitsotakis said there were no plans at present to make vaccination mandatory for other age groups, noting that the 60-plus age group was currently that placing the most pressure on the country’s state hospitals and creating problems for those facing non-Covid health issues.
Discussing the economy, he said that Greece expects to possibly exceed the 4.5 pct of GDP growth forecast for 2022 as the country anticipates a bumper year for tourism, unless there are major complications due to the pandemic.