Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for all Greeks above 60 years of age before a cabinet meeting in Athens on Tuesday (Nov. 30) in response to the Omicron variant.
Those who refuse to get vaccinated will have to pay a monthly fine of 100 euros ($114) for each month they don’t get jabbed, starting on January 16.
“It is not a punishment,” Mitsotakis said. “I would say it is a health fee.”
Germany’s incoming chancellor threw his support behind mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations as European leaders take a tougher line in a bid to check a massive surge in new infections.
During a video conference on Tuesday (Nov. 30), Olaf Scholz told outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and state premiers that he would support a broad requirement to get shots, according to a person familiar with the discussions. The measure, which may not be approved at the talks, could come into force around February, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.
The move would be a major departure for the new administration after German leaders vowed for months that it would be up to citizens to decide if they wanted to take up the government’s offer to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“In order to get the upper hand and prevent a fifth wave, we must now prepare for a general vaccination requirement,” said Robert Habeck, the incoming vice chancellor from the Greens.