With rampant anxiety over the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, Prime Minister Mitsotakis today in a televised address announced the compulsory vaccination of public and private sector doctors and healthcare workers by September, as well as of employees at old-age homes, who will be suspended if not vaccinated by 15 August.
Vaccines will also be made compulsory for members of the armed forces.
Putting to rest scenarios of restaurants, bars and cafes having a mixed clientele of vaccinated and unvaccinated customers, the PM said that wearing masks indoors and in cinemas will be compulsory.
Mitsotakis declared that the government will protect public health with persuasion.
He underlined, however, that it is inconceivable for unvaccinated doctors and healthcare workers to care for cancer patients, who have much reduced or zero immunity.
“Common rules do not divide, they unite,” the PM said.
“One must not invest in ignorance and anxiety,” he added, alluding to the opposition
Persuasion the government’s main tool in renewed vaccination push
The prime minister said that the goal of the government is to vaccinate 70 percent of the population within the summer.
Mitsotakis declared that the government will protect public health with persuasion, although that is not enough in certain categories of citizens.
‘Common rules do not divide, they unite’
He underlined, for example, that it is inconceivable for unvaccinated doctors and healthcare workers to care for cancer patients, who have much reduced or zero immunity.
“Common rules do not divide, they unite,” the PM said
“One must not invest in ignorance and anxiety,” he added, alluding to the opposition.
In a particularly sombre tone, he stressed the dangers posed by the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus, which he noted for the first time in history has led to barring viewers from Olympics stadiums and venues.
He also noted that about 99 percent of patients being treated in ICUs are unvaccinated.
Defending government’s strategy, performance
The PM announced a major vaccination push that will focus on citizen aged 60 and over and on the youth, who have proven to be the most vulnerable.
Fending off opposition criticism, he said that the government has conducted repeated public information campaigns.
He also underlined that it has tailored public health policy to rapidly changing epidemiological circumstances.
Mitsotakis underlined that the government has made available to citizens millions of COVID-19 self-tests along with an effective vaccine rollout.
He noted that traffic at Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos Airport is something over 50 percent of what it was last year.