$120 monthly fines for unvaccinated Greeks over age 60 comes into force today.
520,000 Greeks over 60 have yet to be vaccinated, representing 17.3% of the country’s elderly population. Elderly COVID-19 patients are straining the country’s healthcare system, with those over 65 accounting for over 50% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 83.2% of deaths. In November, the government introduced bans on the unvaccinated from entering indoor spaces such as restaurants and cinemas, as well as forcing the unvaccinated to present negative COVID-19 tests to enter banks and government buildings. In June, the government announced a $170 reward for Greeks between 18 and 25 who got vaccinated, which caused 308,000 people to get their shot.
Expect vaccination rates among elderly Greeks to increase as they seek to protect their fixed incomes. Political blowback should be low as revenue from fines will likely be invested in healthcare. Should vaccination rates increase substantially, expect the Greek government to expand these fines to other groups with low vaccination rates such as young adults and minors. If the fine succeeds in reducing hospitalizations and relieving pressure on the country’s healthcare system, expect other countries with high hospitalizations rates such as France and Italy to implement similar measures.
Kyle is a Publisher and Analyst on the Analysis team. He specializes in foreign policy and human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a particular focus on Mexico and Central America.