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Politics

Some Greek Members of Parliament Refuse COVID-19 Vaccinations

ATHENS – While most politicians jumped to the head of the line to be among the first to be vaccinated against COVID-19, some 10 or more out of 300 Members of Parliament still haven't gotten their shots, among a majority of Greeks who've refused.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis hasn't made shots mandatory yet for most and is relying on a failing persuasion campaign to convince the reluctant to be inoculated against the deadly Coronavirus.

Almost 290 of the lawmakers have been vaccinated, government sources not named told Kathimerini, as Parliament Speaker asked all party secretaries to provide the latest figures and names but didn't say if he could mandate it.

Health Minister Vassals Kikilias told state-run broadcaster ERT“The vast majority of lawmakers have been vaccinated and many have supported the vaccination (campaign) in public, even from other parties in Parliament … but others are against vaccination and state it publicly,” adding that vaccine deniers “will be judged by the public.”

No names were given but major rival SYRIZA MP Pavlos Polakis, a surgeon who was formerly a deputy health minister when the leftists were in power, has come out against vaccines and the science behind them although he's a physician.

The government, however, is giving those fully vaccinated some benefits that those refusing won't have and that includes letting them attend athletic events in stadiums where 80 percent capacity will be allowed despite a surge in cases and fear of the rising Delta variant.

The Sports Ministry said minors who are not eligible for vaccination may also attend, as long as their numbers do not exceed 5 percent of the venue’s permissible capacity, said the state-run Athens Macedonia News Agency (ANA-MPA).

Adult spectators must show a vaccination certificate when purchasing an electronic ticket, while minors be required to show a negative PCR or rapid test result while at facilities without an electronic ticketing system, proof of vaccination or test results will be required at the door.

Open-air facilities may reopen at 80 percent capacity (or a maximum 25,000 people) while closed facilities may seat up to 60 percent capacity (or a maximum 3,000 people) it was also said.

The government's advisory panel of doctors and scientists also okayed the Athens Half Marathon set for Sept. 12 but only for those who are fully vaccinated and while concerts are being allowed for that group as well it wasn't said whether performers must also show proof of being inoculated to work there.

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