GREECE - Mitsotakis: Compulsory vaccination or fine
The money will go to a special fund to support the NSS - 2 free self tests for all adults during the holidays
Fine of 100 euros to those over 60 who will not be vaccinated until January 16, is one of the measures announced by the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the cabinet.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in his introductory statement: "The news Omicron mutation worries us and calls us on alert. The approaching festivities create conditions that are likely to favor its mutation. The Omicron mutation is certain to sooner or later make its appearance in Greece as well.
Our vaccination policy over the last month seems to be working. We go better but not as much as we should and as much as we want. Of our 350.000 fellow citizens over the age of 60, only 60.000 rushed to be vaccinated. In Greece, the vaccination rate at these ages is still around 83% ", he said and continued:
«Their vaccination now becomes MANDATORY. A decision that tormented me personally. I feel a very heavy responsibility to stand by the most vulnerable. Those over 60 should have made an appointment by January 16 to make the first installment. Otherwise each month will be required administrative fine of 100 euros and by law this money will be collected in a special fund for hospitals ".
"It is not a punishment but a price for health. It is an act of justice for the vaccinated. "
All the suggestion of the Prime Minister:
Let me start with an important pandemic announcement. The new "Omicron" mutation worries us and calls us to be vigilant, because it reminds us that the coronavirus can constantly surprise us as long as it finds ground to survive, especially among the unvaccinated. While the holidays that are approaching, with their atmosphere, family tables and social outings, create conditions that may favor its revival.
We will know more about the "Omicron" mutation in about two weeks. Sooner or later, however, it is certain that it will make its appearance in Greece as well. That is why we must continue to implement our policy even faster. In other words, we must save time.
Vaccinations, many tests, application of the vaccination certificate and personal protection measures. This is the answer and not a lockdown, which some people discount, without being able to often hide their greeting.
And despite the great difficulties we face - the Minister of Health will speak later to present the situation that prevails today in the National Health System - our policy at least in terms of vaccinations in the last month seems to work. Already 3 in 4 Greeks over the age of 12 have chosen to be vaccinated with the vaccine. Our country today is second in Europe in terms of daily vaccinations related to the 3rd dose. In the last few weeks alone, the total number of 1st and 3rd installment appointments has exceeded 2 million.
Let's go, in other words better, but not as much as we should and not as much as we want. Because while all age groups respond, there is only one who insists on being late.
Of our 580.000 unvaccinated fellow citizens over the age of 60, unfortunately only 60.000 rushed to be vaccinated within the month of November. And it is mainly those over 60 who are being treated and unfortunately many of them are missing. And as we have said many times, they are unjust deaths.
Consider that in Portugal where people over 60 have been vaccinated at a rate of 98%, if I am not mistaken, if you look at the data the occupied ICUs and the losses are minimal. On the contrary, in Greece, and despite the great effort we have all made, the vaccination rate at these ages is still around 83%.
Therefore, these citizens must be the first to be protected, as they are often the ones who are late to go to the hospital, unfortunately aggravating their situation even more. However, preventing the hospitalization of other serious diseases.
Experts, moreover, estimate that the importance of the vaccine of a 70-year-old is equivalent to 34 vaccinations of newer ones in terms of public health.
So, we are now turning our attention to the protection of our fellow citizens, of our fellow citizens. For this reason, their vaccination becomes mandatory from now on.
It's a decision I have to tell you that tormented me personally. However, I feel a heavier responsibility to stand by the most vulnerable, even if they may be temporarily unhappy. I have absolutely no doubt that our political decision will save human lives. Because vaccination is becoming more than mandatory. Saves lifes. It is necessary for health. It is now necessary for the whole society.
Greek women and men, therefore, over the age of 60 who have not been vaccinated should have booked their appointment by January 16, I repeat January 16, to take the first dose. They will have top priority in the system to be vaccinated first. Otherwise, every month an administrative fine of 100 euros will be imposed which will be confirmed directly by AADE. And by law this money will be collected in a special fund which will finance our hospitals.
It is not a punishment. I would say it is a price of health. A precautionary motive, a life boost but I believe it is also an act of justice for the most vaccinated. It is not possible today for some people to be deprived of the health system services they need because others stubbornly refuse to do the obvious.
My decision - I repeat - means protection and not punishment. And after what applies to health professionals, he now comes to complete the persuasion campaign that we have been following for months.
I would like to remind you that Greece was the first to set rules for controlled access to closed spaces since July. Also first, since October, opened the possibility of a third dose to all adults. And he first set the condition of full vaccination for those over 60 the administration of the third dose. It is a plan with fixed goals but also with the flexibility that circumstances require each time.
So we proceed with a method, with understanding, but also with determination. We calmly identify where we are lagging behind and intervene purposefully when we have, as the Constitution requires, exhausted any other means. This is what we are doing now with our fellow citizens over 60 who need to be vaccinated.
At the same time, however, we anticipate. That is why, in view of the holidays, the state is taking another complementary measure. From December 6 to 12, it will provide a free self-test to any adult, vaccinated or not, to identify possible asymptomatic carriers of the virus before Christmas. Exactly the same exercise will be repeated by 3 to 7 January to follow the course of the pandemic transmission during the holidays. Because it is important that we all control ourselves during the gatherings of the day. The Minister of Health will make detailed announcements tomorrow, while we have secured through the Civil Protection another 20 million self-tests for the needs of our schools.
I close by insisting on the character of our two new initiatives. They are measures of incitement and not of repression, they are just measures. Because they are not horizontal to everyone but primarily concern those whom they ultimately intend to guard. They also serve the dual purpose of making the economy and society work in parallel with the protection of public health. And finally they adapt to the situation, so that these holidays are the last ones that we will spend with our thoughts in the pandemic.
I am sure that we all understand their importance and when they come to a vote in Parliament - immediately, in the coming days - I hope the political forces will rise to the occasion. They must reject bilingualism and not hide behind findings such as "optional compulsion". It is time to speak the language of truth and the truth is only one: the vaccine saves lives and first and foremost the most vulnerable. That is why, as I told you, it is not obligatory, it is necessary, it is necessary.