(MENAFN- The Peninsula)
Slovakia plans to send hospitality vouchers worth 500 euros ($567) to seniors who are fully inoculated against Covid-19 in a bid to increase one of the European Union's lowest vaccination rates and prevent future lockdowns.
The cabinet of Prime Minister Eduard Heger approved the bonus for all residents over the age of 60 who have received shots, including the booster, the Finance Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. The vouchers will be redeemable at hotels, restaurants, hair salons, gyms and cultural venues.
The nation of 5.5 million is in a full lockdown as its rate of new infections on per capita basis is among the worst in the world now. The bonus roughly equals an average monthly pension in Slovakia.
The plan is estimated to cost the state budget 500 million euros and could boost next year's deficit by about 10%.
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The second largest coalition party, the fiscally-conservative Freedom and Solidarity, opposed the measure as cumbersome and too expensive.
The premier's faction will need to rely on opposition lawmakers to push the motion through in parliament.
The Slovak measure runs counter to those being put in place elsewhere in Europe.
Greece, which is making vaccines mandatory for all citizens above 60 years of age, will start fining people refusing inoculation from January.
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