Greece Imposes Fines on Unvaccinated Elderly

Three elderly men wearing FFP2 face masks to curb the spread of coronavirus, sit on a bench in Athens, Greece, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. Italy, Spain and other European countries are re-instating or stiffening mask mandates as their hospitals struggle with mounting numbers of COVID-19 patients. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, File)
AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

Greece’s federal government on Monday began enforcing a Chinese coronavirus vaccine mandate on members of its population aged 60 and older, Euronews reported, noting that elderly Greek citizens and residents who choose not to receive the vaccine face a monthly fine of €50 ($56.60) through the end of January that will increase to €100 ($113) by February.

“Medical professionals who are not vaccinated have also been suspended and face the prospect of being sacked if they fail to comply with rules which say they require vaccination,” according to Euronews.

Greek government and health authorities will now police the elderly and ask them to present proof of Chinese coronavirus vaccination through a certificate issued by the European Union (E.U.), of which Greece is a member, to enter public spaces nationwide.

“Compliance with the vaccination requirement is demonstratively proven through EU digital Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] certification,” Dimokratia, a Greek right-wing newspaper, reported December 2, 2021.

Greek Deputy Interior Minister Stelios Petsas suggested Greece’s federal vaccine mandate for people aged 60 and over might extend to people aged 50 to 59 when speaking about the measure on January 7.

“The decision to impose age criteria has paid off, and the age limits could be further lowered if this becomes necessary,” he told reporters at the time, as quoted by the Greek newspaper E Kathimerini.

Greece’s Education Ministry threatened to “deprive” parents of “custody” over their children last month if they refused to comply with the ministry’s stringent masking and testing mandates. The ministry has enforced the measures on all public school students across Greece for several months in an effort to curb Chinese coronavirus transmission. Parents opposed to the policies have opted to keep their children home from school rather than subject them to the restrictive protocol.

The Associated Press

Students wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, wait to check their temperature at a junior high school in Athens. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Alexandros Koptsis, the Greek Education Ministry’s general secretary for primary and secondary education, told Al Jazeera on December 9, 2021, he urged Greek public school staff “to call prosecutors” and establish a criminal case against parents who refused to send their children to public schools while his ministry’s mandates remained in place.

“If a prosecutor deems it necessary, parents could even be deprived of custody,” Koptsis told a Greek radio station at the time, according to Al Jazeera.

A pupil wearing a face mask arrives at a primary school on the first day of class of the new academic year in Athens, on September 14, 2020, amid the crisis linked with the covid-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus. - Schools open on Monday amid concerns due to a new spike in coronavirus infections and along with resistance by some parents to a regulation stipulating that all children and adults must wear protective face masks. (Photo by Thanassis Stavrakis / POOL / AFP) (Photo by THANASSIS STAVRAKIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

A pupil wearing a face mask arrives at a primary school on the first day of class of the new academic year in Athens. (THANASSIS STAVRAKIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Roughly 67 percent of Greece’s population of 10.34 million “is already fully vaccinated” against the Chinese coronavirus, Euronews observed January 17. Health officials have so far administered 18.3 million Chinese coronavirus vaccine doses to residents and citizens of Greece.

Euronews, which is collectively owned by several European and North African public broadcasters, described the Greek federal government as “start[ing] to run out of patience with those who are still unvaccinated against COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus]” on January 17.

The description echoes a similar sentiment expressed by U.S. President Joe Biden on September 2, 2021, when he announced plans for a federal vaccine mandate on private U.S. businesses with 100 employees or more.

“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” Biden said of the U.S. federal government’s perception of U.S. citizens and residents who choose not to receive a Chinese coronavirus vaccination despite increased state pressure.

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s plans to enforce a federal Chinese coronavirus vaccine mandate on large employers on January 13, 2022.

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