Government spokesman Yannis Economou today left open the prospect of expanding compulsory vaccination to include even more groups.

He left open the prospect straight on the heels of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ decision to institute compulsory vaccination for citizens age 60 and over.

Economou noted that citizens over age 60 account for nine out of ten Covid-19 deaths, and that the advent of the Omicron variant of the virus played a role in making the decision.

He said that the 100 euro fine that those over 60 who have not made an appointment to get the jab by mid-January will have to pay every month is intended to prod the most vulnerable group of citizens to do the right thing.

Just yesterday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed that a broad discussion regarding compulsory vaccination begin at the EU-wide level.

“I think it is understandable and appropriate to lead this discussion now — how we can encourage and potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union,” she said, noting that it is up to member-states to fashion their own policies on the issue.

Economou commented on von der Leyen’s statements, noting that the government’s decision on compulsory vaccination for those age 60 and over automatically puts Greece at the forefront of the debate.

“With our decision on compulsory vaccination we are among the first countries [to tackle the issue] and there will be more. Compulsory [vaccination] is the last resort in the effort to achieve vaccine coverage. The government took this bold and responsible decision and there is a timetable. The effort continues and that is how we will proceed. We are ready at any moment to do whatever is necessary [to check] the pandemic,” he said.

As regards the statements of the Commission president and the similar orientation of the Austrian and Germany governments in their vaccine rollouts, Economou noted that the government is prepared to do anything that is necessary to achieve that the highest possible vaccination rate.