ATHENS – A plan offering the 18-26 year-old group in Greece a 150-euro ($178.88) in a digital wallet if they get their COVID-19 vaccinations was criticized by the major opposition SYRIZA as unscrupulous.
“After turning the young people’s lives into a living hell in the last year and a half, Mitsotakis is now attempting to bribe them with 150 euros. He treats them like fish that will take the bait and not as citizens with rights,” the party said in a press release, reported Kathimerini.
That was in reference to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis who is still in a persuasion campaign to get more people inoculated to reach a 70 percent benchmark needed to beat back the pandemic.
Little more than one-third of the country's population has been fully protected either with two doses of most versions or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson from the United States company.
Mitsotakis said he can't make reluctant health workers be vaccinated but said if the rate of those getting shots falls off that he would consider in the autumn making them mandatory as plans now are for public employees.
SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance – changing its name from Radical Left after taking a beating in July 7, 2019 snap elections – said the scheme is being used to forget “the authoritarianism and the beatings in the squares and the unprecedented exclusion of thousands of pupils from the state universities for the sake of private colleges while constantly targeting them for spreading the pandemic.”
Despite that usual leftist rhetoric, the party statement said people should be vaccinated, rejecting its own former deputy health minister Pavlos Polakis – a surgeon – who said they shouldn't as he disputed the safety and efficacy of the vaccines although they have worked to reduce cases, deaths and hospitalizations.