Greece has enforced mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for hesitant healthcare workers.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis ordered aged care workers to book in their COVID-19 jab immediately but gave healthcare workers more leeway in his announcement on Sunday.
“After a year and a half, no one can claim ignorance about the coronavirus anymore,” he announced in a nationally televised address.
“The country will not shut down again due to attitude adopted by certain people … It’s not Greece that’s a danger, but unvaccinated Greeks.”
Aged care workers have been given 34 days to book their vaccination appointment or risk facing suspension.
Workers at state-run and private hospitals will have just over two months to book in their jab before their September 1 deadline comes into full force.
Those who miss out before the deadline will risk suspension.
All indoor commercial areas – including bars and theatres – will be open exclusively to those who are vaccinated until the end of August, as part of the announcement.
The new restrictions will apply nationwide.
Greece’s bio-ethics committee recommended mandatory jabs for aged care workers be used “as a last resort measure” if prior efforts to ramp up the rollout fail.
An opinion poll on Skai television this week revealed that a majority of Greeks support mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for specific groups.
It follows a series of coercive measures to target Greece’s unvaccinated and vaccine-hesitant reward the vaccinated, including offering cash incentives to encourage younger Greeks.
Just over 40% of residents have been fully vaccinated since the rollout began earlier this year but appointments have been falling in recent weeks, Reuters reports.
COVID-19 infections have surged since late June, with the number of daily infections per 100,000 residents over seven days rising from 3.5 to 17 since June 24.
Greece recorded 1,465 new cases and five deaths on Sunday, according to the National Public Health Organisation (NPHO).