The Council of State, Greece’s top court, ruled on Friday that a policy of mandatory vaccination is constitutional, as appointments for the first dose of the Covid vaccine skyrocketed this week.
The Plenary Session of the court rejected all requests for the annulment of relevant ministerial decisions for the mandatory vaccination of employees, such as firefighters, doctors, nurses, and ambulance staff.
The court ruled that especially for medical and nursing staff, vaccination is a constitutional obligation that demonstrates social solidarity.
The government Thursday did not rule out an extension of mandatory vaccinations to other groups apart from those over-60s if the need arises.
Mandatory vaccination in Greece includes fines for the unvaccinated
On Tuesday, Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that Covid vaccinations will be made compulsory for all over 60-year-olds across the nation.
Aiming to stem surging Covid-19 cases in Greece, Mitsotakis said that the decision “tormented me personally.”
He stressed, however, that it is his responsibility to protect the vulnerable members of society. “Lives will be saved by this decision. Vaccination saves lives,” the PM stated.
Greece’s premier added that fines will be imposed upon all citizens who do not comply with the new directive.
“Those over 60 who have not been vaccinated will have to make an appointment by January 16, otherwise a fine of 100 euros will be imposed. The fine will be issued by the Authority for Public Revenue (AADE) and this money will be collected in a special fund that will finance our hospitals,” Mitsotakis said.
Following the announcement, there has been a dramatic increase in first-dose appointments for people aged 60+. According to the latest information, from noon last Tuesday to noon on Friday, 50,000 citizens had made appointments for vaccination.
In a Facebook post, the Minister of State, Akis Skertsos, said: “One out of ten people in the group of our most vulnerable fellow citizens, who remained unprotected for 11 months, made a life choice in just three days. We thank them and we will continue to build a firewall around the most vulnerable.”
New Covid cases remain high
Greece confirmed 6,201 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, with three of these identified at entry points to the country, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) said on Friday.
Since the pandemic began, Greece has confirmed 957,552 infections. In the confirmed cases of the last seven days, 98 infections are related to travel from abroad and 3,106 to other confirmed cases.
There are also 97 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, bringing the total of pandemic victims to 18,427. Of these, 95.4 percent had an underlying condition and/or were aged 70 or over.
A total of 694 patients are on ventilators in hospitals. Their median age is 65 years. Of the total, 549 (79.11 percent) are unvaccinated or partly vaccinated and 145 (20.89 percent) are fully vaccinated.