Greece mandates COVID-19 vaccinations for residents over 60

Nov 29, 2021, 3:28 PM | Updated: Nov 30, 2021, 8:00 am
A woman adjusts her face mask as she passes a Christmas decorated shop front window in Athens, Gree...

A woman adjusts her face mask as she passes a Christmas decorated shop front window in Athens, Greece, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. Greece has recorded a spike in deaths and infections related to COVID-19 this month, amid heightened concerns in Europe due to the Omicron variant. The Greek government has ruling out the prospect of a general lockdown. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Residents in Greece over 60 years old will have to undergo mandatory vaccinations against coronavirus or face monthly 100-euro ($114) fines beginning next year, the prime minister announced Tuesday, declaring the country’s first general inoculation mandate.

The Greek government decided upon the measure in response to a surge in new daily infections and the emergence of the omicron variant. It will take effect on Jan. 16 and the fines will be added to tax bills, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a televised statement.

Greece’s overall COVID-19 death toll exceeded 18,000 this week with confirmed new infections at high levels. Roughly a quarter of the country’s adult population remains unvaccinated.

Vaccination mandates were introduced over the summer for health care workers and fire service rescuers in Greece, with those failing to comply being suspended from their jobs indefinitely without pay.

The government has ruled out imposing new lockdowns but says it is targeting the elderly with tougher restrictions to protect the public health service as ICU occupancy is near capacity nationwide.

“The new omicron variant is a concern for us and means we must be vigilant,” Mitsotakis said.

“Unfortunately, of the 580,000 unvaccinated of our fellow citizens over the age of 60, only 60,000 set up appointments to get vaccinated in November,” he said. “But it is mainly people over 60 who require hospital treatment and sadly lose their life. These deaths are unnecessary.”

The opposition left-wing Syriza party accused the center-right government of shifting the responsibility of battling the virus onto ordinary Greeks and “targeting people over 60 … with punitive and financially debilitating measures that haven’t been implemented anywhere else in the world.”

Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis conceded that it had been a “politically difficult decision,” but defended the measure as the only way forward.

“If we chose the easy path we would say: ‘It’s their problem,'” he said in parliament. “(Unvaccinated people over 60) wouldn’t get inoculated, they would die in their thousands and we would wash our hands of them so as not to lose votes. That is an immoral course of action.”

No details were provided on how Greek authorities would be able to establish whether people over 60 have been vaccinated. One possible way could be to cross-check with government social security databases, although this would require notifying the independent data protection agency and potentially passing special legislation to do that.

___

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Heavy gunfire reported at Burkina Faso military base

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Heavy gunfire rang out at a military base in Burkina Faso’s capital early Sunday, prompting fears that a coup attempt was underway after weeks of growing frustration with the government’s handling of the Islamic insurgency wracking the country. The government put out a statement acknowledging gunfire in army barracks but […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Turkish journalist jailed before trial for Erdogan insult

ISTANBUL (AP) — A well-known Turkish journalist has been jailed pending a trial for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, her lawyer said. Sedef Kabas was taken into custody after she cited a proverb on television and social media referring to an ox. Under the insult law, tens of thousands have been prosecuted for targeting Erdogan […]
1 day ago
Members of Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, trai...
Associated Press

Russia rejects UK claim of trying to replace Ukraine leader

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday rejected a British claim that Russia was seeking to replace Ukraine’s government with a pro-Moscow administration, and that former Ukrainian lawmaker Yevheniy Murayev was being considered as a potential candidate. Britain’s Foreign Office on Saturday also named several other Ukrainian politicians it said had links with Russian […]
1 day ago
A villager, dressed in a traditional bear costume, celebrates the Malanka festival in the village o...
Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: Ukrainians observe pagan-rooted new year festival

KRASNOILSK, Ukraine (AP) — Dressed as goats, bears, oxen and cranes, many Ukrainians ring in the new year in the colorful rituals of the Malanka holiday. Malanka, which draws on pagan folk tales, marks the new year according to the Julian calendar, meaning it falls on Jan. 13-14. In the festivities, celebrants go from house […]
1 day ago
A man repairs a 10-meter wooden row boat, built in the Nordic clinker boat tradition, at the Viking...
Associated Press

UNESCO lists Viking-era wooden sailboats on heritage list

ROSKILDE, Denmark (AP) — For thousands of years, wooden sailboats allowed the peoples of Northern Europe to spread trade, influence and sometimes war across seas and continents. In December, the U.N.’s culture agency added Nordic “clinker boats” to its list of traditions that represent the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and […]
1 day ago
Migrants gather near the Hungarian border, outside of the village of Martonosh, Serbia, Thursday, J...
Associated Press

Migrants at Hungary border become part of election campaign

MAJDAN, Serbia (AP) — A group of migrants huddles beside a small, smoky fire inside an abandoned building in northern Serbia, the last moments of warmth before they set out into the driving snow toward the razor wire, cameras and sensors of Hungary’s electrified border fence. A few hours later, they return, their efforts to […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Greece mandates COVID-19 vaccinations for residents over 60