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Greece to make COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for people over 60

Greece to make COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for people over 60
Greek Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced a proposal to make it mandatory for people over 60 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or face a monthly fine. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced plans Tuesday to fine people over the age of 60 if they aren't vaccinated against COVID-19.

"Greeks over the age of 60 ... must book their appointment for a first jab by Jan. 16," he said in a statement to his Cabinet, according to the BBC. "Their vaccination is henceforth compulsory."

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Mitsotakis said the unvaccinated will be fined $113 monthly starting in mid-January. The funds collected will go toward the Greek health system, which is overtaxed by rising hospitalizations linked to the pandemic.

"It is not a punishment," he said, according to Bloomberg. "I would say it is a health fee."

Greece reported 7,486 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday amid a record high spike of cases since the start of pandemic. The country reported 90 deaths Tuesday, which, despite the record number of cases, is about on par with two earlier spikes in deaths in November 2020 and spring 2021.

Since the start of the pandemic, Greece has had more than 930,000 COVID-19 cases and 18,000 deaths.

Mitsotakis' vaccination requirement will be put before a vote in Greece's parliament, where the measure is expected to pass. If it does, Greece will be the first country in the European Union to require vaccinations for people based on age group.

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Austria will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all beginning in February.

Greece's vaccination rate for people over the age of 60 is about 83%.

Greek opposition party Syriza said the proposed monthly fine was financially excessive.

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