- Greece is to impose $US113 ($AU158) monthly fines to those over 60 who refuse COVID-19 vaccines.
- Anyone in that age group who fails to book their first jab by January 16 will be fined.
- The money collected will be used to fund Greece’s healthcare system, the Prime Minister said.
Greece is set to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for people aged 60 or older, and announced it would impose monthly fines of $US113 ($AU158) on those who haven’t booked their first shot by January 16.
The money from the fines will go toward Greece’s healthcare system, said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday, BBC reported. Greece reported record-high levels of hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic.
About 500,000 people over the age of 60 still haven’t received their jabs, said Mitsotakis in a cabinet meeting when he declared the mandate plans, The New York Times reported. Around 66% of Greece’s 11 million population is fully vaccinated.
Mitsotakis said the new mandate is “an act of justice for the vaccinated” and added that he hoped it would be viewed as “encouragement, not repression,” per The Times.
The decision is to be brought to a vote in parliament soon, said Mitsotakis, and lawmakers are expected to approve it, BBC reported.
“We are up against a pandemic of the unvaccinated, since those vaccinated — even if they get sick — have mild consequences,” Mitsotakis said earlier this month.
Greece is the first country in the EU to have targeted a specific age group with a vaccine mandate.
Austria on November 19 became the first European country to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for all, according to Politico. Coronavirus cases there, like in Greece, have surged in the last two months.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Chancellor-elect Olaf Scholz has voiced his support for introducing a vaccine mandate for all German citizens by February.