The Greek government is considering issuing official Covid vaccine perks to motivate even more citizens to get immunized against the coronavirus.
“Privileges are needed for those who are vaccinated in order to serve as a clear motivation and to curb resistance in those who have second thoughts or are attracted by conspiracy theories,” said Deputy Interior Minister Stelios Petsas.
This is something that worries experts, combined with the further spread of mutations. The aim is to increase vaccination rates, especially for those 60 plus, so that by autumn, a significant degree of immunity has been achieved and the chances of a possible fourth wave of the pandemic are reduced.
The debate over granting benefits to those who have been fully vaccinated has been ongoing for some time. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has been meeting with experts concerning government-endorsed special privileges and perks to more of the over 60 crowd who are already vaccinated.
One bar owner told Greek Reporter, “I have 30 tables indoors and four outdoors. If I can open and offer indoor services to fully vaccinated clients as part of a ‘privileges’ program, I am definitely in favor of that. And just for my own peace, I am only hiring staff that is vaccinated or scheduled to be vaccinated. Having a paid job should be enough motivation in Greece when so many are still unemployed.”
Perks and Privileges for the Covid-19 Vaccinated
For those in the US willing to get vaccinated, governments, businesses and schools have been dangling food and booze– actually doughnuts, beer and cheesecake — to motivate those who are procrastinating. Some have even offered cold hard cash. The state of Ohio will give five vaccinated people $1 million each as part of a new weekly lottery program.
US and state health officials offered the very comfortable incentive for many when the CDC advised that fully-vaccinated Americans may stop wearing masks. Some US companies are offering their employees time off to get vaccinated and up to $125 to get their shot as a Covid vaccine perk.
Private employers, restaurants and entertainment venues are looking for ways to make those who are vaccinated feel like VIPs, to protect workers and guests, and to possibly entice those not yet on board with the vaccines.
Receiving the vaccine is of course voluntary, but most companies have strongly encouraged employees receive the immunization when it is their turn. More than 150 million Americans have now received one or more doses, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Greece, the Covid vaccine perks might mean that vaccinated citizens could focus on indoor activities which will be exclusively for the vaccinated, and have greater travel inside and outside of the country. It will also mean that potentially, weekly self-testing for employees will be able to be abolished.
However, when it comes to self-tests, experts in Greece want to keep them as protocol for a while longer, since half of the new diagnoses currently are now come from self-tests.
Self Testing Still Necessary with Vaccine as of Now
“We are not there yet. It has been discussed in the commission whether self-testing can be stopped by vaccinated people,” said Professor Vana Papaevangelou, of the University of Athens medical school.
“I think we are always trying to express the commission’s concern from this position, precisely because we still have a long way to go. Therefore, it is not yet time to stop the self-tests or the rapid tests in vaccinated health workers.
“It is something that will happen, it will be discussed again in the coming weeks,” said the member of the commission of infectious disease specialist.
Covid vaccine perks could potentially be available to millions in Greece. The country has administered six million total doses of the coronavirus vaccine, according to an announcement Saturday by Marios Themistokleous, Greek Secretary General for Primary Health Care.
This brings the total number of fully vaccinated Greeks to over 2.2 million, a figure which includes those who have received the two-dose vaccines, like AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna, as well as those who have received the one-dose Johnson and Johnson shot.