Greek Doctors Upset Pharmacists Vaccinations Would Be Ok’d

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Alexandros Zontanos, file)

ATHENS – While Greek pharmacists now can give flu shots, doctors don’t want them being allowed to give season vaccinations and tetanus injections, which the Health Ministry has proposed in a multi-bill to Parliament would get official imprimatur.

Most pharmacists are already providing the services but the doctors unions of Athens and Piraeus said making it legal could see pharmacy powers expanded to provide more basic healthcare services to deal with a shortage of doctors around the country, said Kathimerini.

The doctors unions said allowing pharmacists to give the vaccinations could put the public’s health at risk without explaining why it already hasn’t since the practice has long been ongoing.

“The task of taking a patient’s medical history and assessing whether they should or can be subjected to any medical procedure, such as vaccination, and treating any possible side-effects in the event of a reaction, lies with doctors alone,” the Medical Association of Athens (ISA) said.

“Any medical act carried out by non-doctors in a non-medical environment is an encroachment on the medical profession,” the ISA added although with dozens having died from the flu this season people were urged to get shots.

The Health Ministry has also introduced mobile preventive care units that will be dispatched to parts of Greece where there are few or no doctors with thousands of physicians having fled the country during a nearly nine-year-long economic crisis.

The initial plan is for 90 such units to be put together in a team including a dentist, a nurse, a health visitor, a midwife, a lab technician and a physical therapist, who will supplement the work done by agricultural medical units and local health clinics.

The staff for these units, which includes drivers and administrators, will be hired via the ASEP state hiring mechanism, the report said.

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