Although belatedly, indeed at the last minute, the combination of persuasion and public health measures is producing results in the effort to step up the pace of Greece’s vaccine rollout.

The rate of vaccination, the only way to manage the pandemic, is rising after a long period of stagnation, and it is encouraging that this is happening especially in northern Greece, where the epidemiological situation is grave.

That, however, was the only good news over the past days. Along with the increase in the number of vaccinations, there has been a marked rise in the number of newly confirmed infections and in the number of patients, now over 500, who are intubated in hospital ICUs.

The reason for that is simple. Citizens over 60-years-old, who are at greater risk of becoming very ill and dying, continue to be reluctant or just refuse to be vaccinated.

There is crushing pressure on the National Health System. The endurance of hospitals is being sorely tested.

The seasonal temperature drop is another negative factor, as people now gather together indoors, and this coming Christmas may turn out to be nightmarish.

Clearly, recommendations will not suffice. One must examine restrictive measures that will target mainly the unvaccinated. They are five times more likely to fall ill and ten times more likely to die than  those who are vaccinated.

In Central Europe, where there is also a flare up of the pandemic, a lockdown exclusively for the unvaccinated is being considered.

Other measures that are being discussed these days include extending compulsory vaccination to categories of workers who come into contact with the public, requiring a green passport for the use of mass transportation, mandatory wearing of masks in outdoors spaces and, if needed, a conscription of doctors.

The government has decided to adopt a week-by-week approach as regards imposing public health measures and hopes that by Christmas 70 percent of the population will have been vaccinated, because if November has been lost, December must be saved at all costs.

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