The public debate over whether to offer privileges, or greater freedom of action, for COVID-19 vaccinated individuals did not begin with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ speech in Parliament yesterday.

It has been quite some time, almost as soon as the new vaccines were shipped out of production facilities, that the international community has been aware that at some point it would reach the cusp and decide whether all vaccinated people will be the first to return to normalcy, leaving behind the unvaccinated.

The debate was sparked in Greece due to the reduced flow of vaccine appointments. Despite the efforts of authorities the numbers are stagnant.

Those who chose to be vaccinated in proper order did not do so because someone offered them some privilege. The greatest privilege they received was vaccination itself and a right to a decent future.

By getting the jabs, they were able to save their own lives and those of their families and friends.

It follows that the Greek economy, which is awaiting the summer season in order to make up for losses during the protracted lockdown, cannot stage a comeback amid fear of new restrictions due to a prospective autumn spike in COVID-19 cases.

This is not because someone benefits from having two categories of citizens (on the contrary), but because it is the only way. Ensuring public health is a paramount objective.

When we began dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we did not know how to stem it.

Now we know that there is no swifter and safer path than en masse vaccination.

If privileges can be used as a tool to advance understanding among those who are still reluctant to be vaccinated, then they are not only just – they are necessary.

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