Greece Hoping to Lure Citizens Under 26 to Get COVID Vaccine With $180 Incentive

Greece is offering a $180 incentive to citizens under 26 who get vaccinated against COVID-19 this summer, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a televised speech Monday. Beginning July 15, qualifying individuals will be able to secure the incentive as credit in a digital wallet upon receiving a preliminary vaccine dose, the Associated Press reported.

"We hope that young people will take advantage of this opportunity. The state thanks you for acting responsibly and doing something that I am certain you would have done anyway," Mitsotakis said.

Country leaders hope the reward will spur vaccination rates in the younger population as Greece looks to restore its economy and tourism revenue. Kyriakos Pierrakakis, a minister for digital policy, said the digital wallet credit can be redeemed only for activities relating to tourism and entertainment.

"This card will not be accepted everywhere. It will be targeted for specific activities," Pierrakakis said. "It can be used (to buy) air, ferry and rail tickets, for car rental, camp sites, (holiday) accommodation, travel services, the cinema, theater and music and dance performances, museums, archeological sites, among other services."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Greek Vaccination Site
Greece is offering a $180 incentive to citizens under 26 who get vaccinated against COVID-19 this summer, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a televised speech Monday. Above, a man receives a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the refugee camp of Mavrovouni on the Greek island of Lesbos on June 3, 2021. Manolis Lagoutaris/AFP via Getty Images

Government officials say additional freedoms will be granted to vaccination certificate holders but haven't finalized details of that policy, adding that they are also examining legal options to make vaccination compulsory for various employment categories including nursing home staff.

Up to 100,000 people are currently receiving their vaccination shots daily in Greece, a country of 10.7 million people. But reluctance among certain age groups to get vaccinated is a major concern for public health officials as infections of the highly contagious Delta variant continue to rise across Europe.

Around 35 percent of the total population, or 42 percent of the adult population, will have completed their vaccination by the end of June, according to government estimates, with those numbers due to rise to 48 percent and 57 percent, respectively, by the end of July.

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Greece Tourism
Greece is offering a $180 incentive to citizens under 26 who get vaccinated against COVID-19 this summer, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a televised speech Monday. Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images