ATHENS – Despite having its own rabid base of members who refuse to be vaccinated and deny science, the major rival SYRIZA said it's anti-vaxxers in the ruling New Democracy who are endangering a campaign to get enough people inoculated to beat back the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Leftists, who've been futilely lashing out against the government and blaming Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for his handling of the health crisis and vacillating, said it was New Democracy “turning a blind eye” and not admitting anti-vaxxers anti-vaxxers form a part of its base.
SYRIZA spokesman Nassos Iliopoulos said big anti-vaccination demonstrations in major Greek cities proved the government was to blame and that “Clearly, the New Democracy Members of Parliament are well aware of the anti-vaxxers,” among them.
“The government and Mitsotakis are entirely responsible for this mobilization,” as its botched vaccination rollout policy he said, has “sabotaged” the inoculation endeavor, said Kathimerini.
He didn't mention that a SYRIZA former deputy health minister, Pavlos Polakis – surgeon – said the vaccines aren't supported scientifically, which led leftist leader and former premier Alexis Tsipras to say people should be vaccinated – but that those who aren't should have the same privileges, covering his bases.
There were some 4,000 people at a anti-vaccination rally outside the Parliament in Athens and nearby Omonia Square on July 14 with demonstrators against restrictions for those who aren't inoculated and saying the government is going to make shots mandatory for all.
Similar protests were held in cities around the country, with organizers using social media to assemble "anti-vaxers" and other pandemic skeptics, said the business newspaper Naftemporiki.
Footage from Syntagma Square showed most protesters without masks, with many holding Greek flags and placards against the vaccinations and against shots being a requirement, the report added.
The government has made them mandatory for health care workers, but not tourism workers or other professional groups although that is said to be in the cards if the pandemic keeps tightening its grip.
Those now required to be vaccinated but who refuse could face disciplinary measures that include being put on unpaid leave although it's not certain whether they could also be dismissed since they weren't working.
Also, food-and-beverage establishments will now be able to choose whether they will serve only vaccinated customers, and those that have previously contracted the virus, or remain a "mixed" venue, with no report why that wouldn't continue spreading the disease.