Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis went to Crete as part of a persuasion campaign to convince the reluctant that the COVID-19 vaccination that nearly half the population has taken for full protection, is safe and works.
He said there are no serious side effects – although there have been several deaths linked to the AstraZeneca version from the United Kingdom – and ask there remains a small but hard-core group of resisting anti-vaxxers in Greece.
Some believe the vaccines are part of an international conspiracy between pharmaceutical companies and governments to alter their DNA or control their minds and don't believe they've reduced the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
During a tour of a mobile vaccination unit in the village of Spili, in Agios Vasileios municipality, doctors told him that the patients being admitted to hospital on the island were all unvaccinated, reported Kathimerini.
“I want to ask you to overcome your hesitations, to overcome your concerns. You protect above all yourself, your families, but at the same time you contribute to the national effort, which we are making to finally end this pandemic,” Mitsotakis said.
“Let those who have some reservations realize how dangerous coronavirus is for all ages but also for younger people and realize that the vaccine is safe. It has no side effects. Everyone should all hurry up and get vaccinated,” he said.
So far he's not required mandatory shots except for health care workers but said they could become a requirement in the autumn if not enough people get them to slow the pandemic and break its deadly grip.
Health officials said at least 70 percent of the population of 10.7 million must be fully inoculated with two shots of most versions, one from the Johnson & Johnson version from the United States.