ATHENS – After backing away from a pledge to consider mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations if the pandemic worsened – it’s at record levels – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will take to TV to urge people to be vaccinated.
His persuasion campaign has failed, however, to convince rabid and sometimes violent anti-vaxxers who don’t believe the vaccines that have worked to slow the pandemic are safe or effective, or are part of an international conspiracy to alter their DNA or control their minds.
Citing sources not named, Kathimerini said he would make a public pitch on Nov. 17 and tie it to the upcoming Christmas period as he has focused on an economic recovery and that season is critical for revenues.
The call comes as daily cases pushed past 8,000 and 80 deaths in a 24-hour period as he has set aside recommendations from his advisory panel of doctors and scientists about the gravity of the fourth wave being spread by the unvaccinated.
Some 83 percent of patients on ventilators in public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) are unvaccinated but the number of fully vaccinated in critical care has also skyrocketed as anti-vaxxers keep spreading the virus.
Mitsotakis may also announce new restrictions that will affect the unvaccinated and warn of additional measures if numbers do not start going down soon, the paper said, contradicting his health officials who said there wouldn’t be any.
The Eleftheria (Freedom) vaccination program has stalled for months at about 62 percent of the country’s population of 10.7 million being fully inoculated, short of the 70 percent health officials said is needed to beat back the pandemic.
But fear over the growing cases, hospitalizations and deaths has seen an increase in skeptics lining up to get their first of two required shots of most versions, apart from the single-shot Johnson & Johnson version from the United States
Booster shots are also now available and the elderly and those most susceptible to the virus were being urged to take them as winter and flu season are setting in and there are worries about viruses colliding and making the situation worse.