Unvaccinated people aged over 60 must book a coronavirus vaccine appointment by January 16 or face a monthly 100-euro fine, Prime Minister Kyriakos told his Cabinet on Tuesday.
An estimated 520,000 people over 60 years old remain unvaccinated against Covid-19 in Greece. The administrative fine will be automatically charged via the Independent Authority for Public Revenue (AADE).
The penalties are part of government efforts to boost vaccination levels as it grapples with a surge in cases and anxiety over the Omicron variant ahead of the holiday season.
About 63 percent of Greece’s population is fully vaccinated, although vaccine appointments have picked up in recent weeks.
Mitsotakis acknowledged that the measure will be unpopular even among more vulnerable individuals, however adding that “it will save lives.”
“We are focusing our efforts on protection of our fellow citizens and for this reason their vaccination will be mandatory from now on,” he said.
He said the government is “put on high alert” over the new possibly more infectious Omicron strain of the coronavirus which, just days after being discovered in South Africa, is popping up in European nations.
No cases of the Omicron variant had been detected in Greece until late Monday.
The country has logged 931,183 infections and 18,067 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic.