Greece has announced mandatory vaccinations for older age groups from mid-January in an attempt to curb the number of coronavirus infections in the country.
Failure to get a first dose of a coronavirus shot by Jan. 16 for anyone aged 60 or over will result in a monthly fine of 100 euros ($114). The money will go toward the Greek health system.
“It is not a punishment. It is a price of health, but also an act of justice towards the most vaccinated,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said via Twitter on Tuesday.
Greece reported 7,720 new cases on Tuesday, down from a record high of 8,969 on Nov. 9, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
However, the authorities are worried about infections rising further in the runup and during the Christmas holidays. To this effect, they are also stepping up testing capacities.
As of Tuesday, about 62% of the Greek population was fully vaccinated against the virus — this is below the EU’s average of 66%, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
However, data from the health ministry showed that about 520,000 people over the age of 60 have failed to get a jab so far, according to Reuters. Greece has a population of about 11 million.
Germany considers mandatory vaccination
Greece’s announcement comes at a time when other European nations are also considering compulsory vaccination.
German Chancellor-designate Olaf Scholz said Tuesday that he would like to see mandatory inoculations in the near future. “So I suggest beginning of February or March,” he said in an interview, cited by Deutsche Welle.
France and Italy were among the first European nations to impose a mandate that forced health professionals to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg earlier this month announced that Covid vaccination would become mandatory in his country from Feb. 1.