Financial carrot for unvaccinated youth

Financial carrot for unvaccinated youth

Apart from other tougher measures to convince people to get inoculated against Covid-19, the government has announced it will offer a 150-euro pre-paid card to people aged 18-25 to get at least one shot of a vaccine as an incentive.

The reasoning behind the move is based on recent research that has shown that young people are the key to the so-called wall of immunity. On the one hand they have been getting vaccinated at a very slow pace, while, on the other, they are the social group with the highest mobility and most likely to form crowds during the summer. Kathimerini understands that, so far, only 18.2% of the 18-25 age group, which amounts to almost a million people, have received shots.

The card, dubbed a “freedom pass” by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, will cover costs for travel and entertainment, including plane and ferry tickets, hotel bookings, music, theater and cinema, museums and archaeological sites.

Presenting the card to the cabinet on Monday, Mitsotakis said he acknowledged the toll the lockdown has had on the social life of young people.

“This is a debt to our youth, a gift of gratitude, particularly ahead of the summer. [It is] a ‘thank you’ for their patience and perseverance,” he told ministers. “At the same time, however, it is also an incentive for young people in particular to get vaccinated, who, by their very nature, contribute more to movement. And the more they are shielded [against the virus], the more we will limit the transmission of the virus.” 

Those who take up the offer will be able to submit their application for the card though the government online platform, a day after they receive their first dose, Digital Policy Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis said. The card will be available by the end of July. 

Meanwhile, main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance accused Mitsotakis of attempting to bribe young people with the new digital wallet scheme.

“After turning the young people’s lives into a living hell in the last year and a half, Mitsotakis is now attempting to bribe them with 150 euros,” SYRIZA said.

It added that the scheme is used to forget “the authoritarianism and the beatings in the squares and the unprecedented exclusion of thousands of pupils from state universities for the sake of private colleges while constantly targeting them for spreading the pandemic.”

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