Greece to fine over-60s who refuse vaccine

17 Jan 22

Greek over-60s who choose not to receive a Covid-19 vaccine are set to be fined, with the money going to fund hospitals.

Anyone over 60 who has refused a jab will face a €50 fine in January, then a monthly fine of €100 after that.

The money will be collected by the country’s tax office, in a move prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis hopes will encourage many more people who have a high risk of hospitalisation from Covid-19 to protect themselves.

“There is a choice to do the right thing, which nine out of 10 of our fellow citizens over 60 have done,” the prime minister said during an interview on television network ANT1.

“The fine is not mandatory, you know. If you are vaccinated you do not pay a fine.”

A similar programme is currently being developed by the Quebec province in Canada, which announced last week it planned an additional tax on unvaccinated adults.

Mitsotakis also said people will cease to be classed as vaccinated from February if they have had fewer than three doses and their last jab was more than seven months ago.

About a third of Greece’s population is fully vaccinated, according to official figures – slightly below the European Union average of about 70%.

Mitsotakis said hospitals have recently come under pressure from high case numbers of the Omicron variant, which although less serious than previous iterations of Covid-19 has spread much more widely.

In the same interview the prime minister said his government plans to “reward health workers” by improving healthcare in Greece.

“The greatest recognition of their efforts, and the greatest service we can offer to the Greek society, is immediately after the end of the pandemic to proceed – and we have the plan ready – to implement a new National Health System,” he said.

According to Mitsotakis the new system will include public health measures, modernise Greece’s hospitals and ease the country’s problems with primary care.

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