Greece suspends thousands of unvaccinated health workers amid fears of COVID-19 new wave

Published September 3, 2021, 8:30 AM

by Xinhua

ATHENS, Greece — Approximately 10,000 health workers in Greece will be suspended from work without payment as part of measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus as the country faces the fourth wave of COVID-19.

A health worker prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the Evaggelismos Hospital in Athens, Greece. (Xinhua/File)

According to the Panhellenic Federation of Public Hospital Employees (POEDIN), doctors, nurses, administrative personnel and other staff members at public and private hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centers were given a Sept. 1 deadline to get their shots, as their vaccination was made mandatory by law this summer.

More than 90 percent of the country’s doctors and 80 percent of nurses have been inoculated, but a few still refuse to get vaccinated citing health issues or other reasons.

POEDIN and other labor unions have urged their members to get vaccinated and organized work stoppages and protests outside hospitals on Thursday.

To date, over 5.7 million people, or 63 percent of Greece’s adult population, have been fully vaccinated, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

Adding pressure on the remaining unvaccinated segments of society to make the decision, the government has announced that between Sept. 13 and April 2022 they will face restrictions in the workplace, schools, entertainment venues, sports halls, gyms and during travel, and will have to bear the cost of regular PCR (polymerase chain reaction) or rapid tests.

On Wednesday, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) confirmed 2,871 new infections and 47 deaths in the past 24 hours. Meanwhile, 346 patients were on ventilators in hospitals.