ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece will announce mandatory vaccinations for specific professional groups next week, the government said on Thursday after a recent spike in COVID-19 infections.
The country’s bio-ethics committee last month recommended compulsory shots for health workers and staff at elderly care facilities only “as a last resort measure” with a specific time frame if efforts to encourage inoculation proved ineffective.
“The government…has got the relevant recommendation by the national bio-ethics committee regarding mandatory vaccinations for specific professional groups,” government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni told a briefing on Thursday. Relevant decisions would be announced next week, she said.
There has been debate about whether mandatory vaccinations are ethical, though a poll released by Greek Skai television on Wednesday showed the majority of Greeks were in favour of the move for specific groups dealing with the public.
On Thursday authorities reimposed curbs on restaurants, bars and nightclubs, allowing seated customers only, out of concern about a recent resurgence in COVID-19 infections driven by the more contagious Delta variant.
About 38% of Greece’s eligible population is fully vaccinated and the government has offered incentives to entice more people to get the shot, including cash and free mobile data for youth, aiming to bring the rate up to 70% by the autumn.
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Mark Heinrich)