ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ New Democracy government has backed away from promises to consider making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory to slow the spread of the resurging pandemic, pushing for a faster economic recovery.
He has ignored warnings of an advisory panel of doctors and scientists and physicians who have been set aside after saying another wave of the Coronavirus is coming.
Mitsotakis had said that he would likely require vaccinations for at least all public workers, with only those in the health care sector now either forced to be inoculated or be suspended but hasn’t done so.
Health Minister Thanos Plevris, who has no experience in health, said the government did not plan to expand mandatory vaccinations against the virus without explaining why given that cases surpassed 4,000 on one day and are still hovering near that.
He told SKAI radio that any measures – as the government has eased back restrictions – would still allow the vaccinated and unvaccinated to be in so-called “mixed areas,” reversing an earlier plan to give the vaccinated more privileges to spur others to get their shots, anti-vaxxers driving up cases and spreading the virus.
In comments to Skai TV, Nikos Kapravelos, head of the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) at the Papanikolaou Hospital in Thessaloniki in northern Greece, said beds there are filling with critically ill people, with those in their 40s – all unvaccinated – are among them.
warned that the fourth coronavirus wave has seen a sharp rise in intubations, adding that people in their 40s – all of them unvaccinated – are now being admitted to ICUs.
Papanikolaou urged the authorities to make vaccination compulsory for high risk individuals aged over 55.
“All ICU beds are occupied at the moment,” he said, adding that it has meant that some patients are being put on ventilators in operating rooms and left there without being monitored by doctors.
“We have nothing left to give,” he said. There was no comments from Mitsotakis, who was out wooing investors.