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Greek teens offered €150 in vouchers if they get a COVID-19 jab

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By Euronews with AP
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has hoped young people will "take advantage of this opportunity".
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has hoped young people will "take advantage of this opportunity".   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Francisco Seco, Pool
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Greece will offer young adults and teenagers €150 vouchers to get a COVID-19 vaccine, the country's prime minister has announced.

Greek citizens under the age of 26 will be eligible to apply for digital credit - dubbed the "freedom card"- after they receive their first dose of a vaccine from July 15.

The move aims to combat the rise in infections across Europe of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.

PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said that he hopes "young people will take advantage of this opportunity".

"During all this time the government has supported the public health system, businesses and citizens with a programme worth around 40 billion euros," Mitsotakis said in a televised speech on Monday.

"The time has come for the government to give incentives to those who have suffered the most," he added.

"The state thanks you for acting responsibly and doing something that I am certain you would have done anyway,"

Greece is launching its two-tier access policy to vaccines of the summer, as it looks to reopen its economy. Kyriakos Pierrakakis, a minister for digital policy, said the digital wallet scheme will focus on the tourism and entertainment industry.

"This card will not be accepted everywhere. It will be targeted for specific activities,'' Pierrakakis said.

The €150 can be used for air, ferry, and rail tickets, car rental, campsites, [holiday] accommodation, and other travel services, he added.

It will also be valid for cinemas, theatres, music performances, museums, and archeological sites.

According to government estimates, around 35% of Greece's population will have been fully vaccinated by the end of June, with that number rising to 48% by the end of July.

Up to 100,000 people are currently receiving their vaccination shots every day in the country, but health officials have expressed concern about the vaccine hesitancy in certain age groups.

Greece's government says additional freedoms will be granted to vaccination certificate holders, but details of the policy have not been finalised.

Authorities also say they are examining legal options to make vaccination compulsory for various employment categories, including nursing home staff.