As the world looks to increase vaccinations to contain the spread of COVID-19, one country is handing down fines for the unvaccinated.

Greece has started fining residents over the age of 60 who do not have COVID vaccinations. The country, which has a population of about 10.5 million, has seen a surge of infections that has strained its healthcare system.

The fine for unvaccinated people over the age of 60 starts at 50 euros ($57) and is followed by a monthly fine of 100 euros ($114).

Health Minister Thanos Plevris said fines collected from unvaccinated citizens would be used to help fund state hospitals, the Associated Press noted.

Plevris told private Open TV on Sunday, “The age factor is important because of its impact on the public health service.”

Currently, 530,000 people are affected by the vaccine mandate, of which 41.5% are fully vaccinated.

Greece currently remains under the EU’s average for COVID vaccinations, with about 69% of its residents fully vaccinated, the AP reported. The EU average is 70.3%.

People who will be spared a fine include those with legitimate health exemptions, a recent COVID infection, or had a delay for a home vaccination appointment.

Greece has the seventh-oldest population in the world, as measured by the share of residents aged 65 and older, according to the Population Reference Bureau.

The country has recorded nearly 22,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic started, according to Johns Hopkins University.

A health worker prepares the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine in the city of Joinville, Santa Catarina, Brazil A health worker prepares the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine in the city of Joinville, Santa Catarina, Brazil Photo: AFP / Carlos JUNIOR