ATHENS, Greece — Greece imposed a vaccination mandate Monday for individuals 60 and older, because the nation’s vaccination price stays beneath the European Union common and a spike in infections has put sustained stress on Greek hospitals.
Older individuals failing to get vaccinated will face penalties, beginning at a 50-euro ($57) high-quality in January and adopted by a month-to-month high-quality of 100 euros ($114) after that.
About two-thirds of Greece’s 10.7 million persons are absolutely vaccinated, whereas the EU common is simply over 70%. However COVID-19 deaths and day by day hospitalizations have elevated following the arrival of the extremely contagious omicron variant, although stress on ICU capability has eased barely.
Well being Minister Thanos Plevris mentioned the fines could be collected by means of the tax workplace with the cash going to assist fund state hospitals.
“The age issue is vital due to its affect on the general public well being service,” Plevris informed personal Open TV on Sunday.
Greece imposed a vaccination mandate for well being care staff final 12 months. And beginning Feb. 1, vaccination certificates for adults will expire after seven months until the holder receives a booster shot.
New infections surged sharply in early January however have eased over the previous week.
The vaccination mandate for the 60 and older age group was introduced in late December and, based on authorities knowledge, 41.5% of the 530,000 individuals focused by the measure are actually absolutely vaccinated. Opinion polls recommend sturdy public assist for the mandate, however some lawmakers throughout get together strains have questioned the legality of singling out a particular group. The federal government defended the measure as constitutional, citing a 2020 excessive courtroom resolution permitting public day care facilities to refuse youngsters who had not been vaccinated for childhood diseases.
Authorities spokesman Giannis Oikonomou mentioned solely individuals with reputable well being exemptions, those that had suffered a latest an infection and candidates for residence vaccination appointments that had been delayed could be spared the high-quality.
“The regulation can be absolutely enforced,” Oikonomou mentioned.
Greece has the seventh oldest inhabitants on this planet, as measured by share of residents aged 65 and over, based on the U.S.-based Inhabitants Reference Bureau. It has seen almost 22,000 virus-related deaths within the pandemic.