Approximately 6,500 healthcare workers along with almost 500 members of the ambulance have been suspended from their jobs over their failure to meet a deadline to vaccinate themselves against COVID-19, Greece’s new Health Minister Thanos Plevris announced on Friday.
Speaking in parliament, Plevris, who has held some controversial views in the past, claimed that of the 6,412 healthcare workers that were suspended for not getting vaccinated, 5,594 work in hospitals and 818 in primary health care.
The minister heralded the fact that 400 health care workers received the vaccine on Monday, just days before the deadline, claiming it proved the government’s decision to make vaccinations compulsory for hospital workers was having an effect.
Hospital workers, though, including many that have been vaccinated, continue to protest the government’s decision. Last Thursday, hundreds staged a five-hour work stoppage, while also protesting in Athens and other cities.
“We have worked so hard during the pandemic and this is what we get,” protester Anna Haritou, who worked as a midwife at an Athens hospital until she was suspended on Wednesday, told Reuters.
Attempting to ease any fallout, the government on Thursday said legislation would be amended to allow workers to be removed from suspension and get back to their jobs immediately as long as they got the first dose in the coming days. A key condition is that they conclude their vaccination.
Featured image: Healthcare workers chat at the hallway of a vaccination center during a media tour, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Athens, Greece, December 23, 2020. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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