Greek lawmakers OK vaccine mandate for elderly

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FILE – In this Sept. 14, 2021, file photo, a syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa. Millions of U.S. workers now have a Jan. 4 deadline to get a COVID vaccine. The federal government on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021 announced new vaccine requirements for workers at companies with more than 100 employees as well as workers at health care facilities that treat Medicare and Medicaid patients.. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

ATHENS, Greece — Greek lawmakers have approved legislation making vaccination for COVID-19 mandatory for all people aged over 60 living in the country on pain of a monthly fine, to deal with an infection surge and the emergence of the omicron variant.

The draft law backed Wednesday by the center-right government and a center-left opposition party — but rejected by all other opposition parties — targets the country’s age group that is most vulnerable to death or intubation from the coronavirus.

Some 17% of Greeks aged over 60 have not yet been vaccinated. They have until Jan. 16 to get their first jabs, or will be fined 100 euros ($113) for every month they remain unvaccinated.

Parties that opposed the measure said it was too harsh on low-income people who don’t want to be inoculated.

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