ATHENS – A ruling by the country’s highest administrative court that suspended unvaccinated Greek doctors, hospital staff and health care workers workers must be allowed to work was a “defeat” for the system, Health Care Minister Thanos Plevris said.
The Council of State said the New Democracy government could no longer bar those who refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19 from their health care positions. They had been singled out as the only sector barred over it.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis earlier had backed away from a pledge to consider mandatory vaccinations even before the pandemic began to wane and allowed anti-vaxxers to have the same privilages as those who were inoculated.
Plevris told SKAI TV that despite the government’s unhappiness over the decision that it would be followed and that some 2,190 suspended workers would start their jobs again on Jan. 1, no indication why not immediately.
But he said their return will take place under a protocol that will include regular rapid testing and that more details about it would be forthcoming after the government’s advisory panel of doctors and scientists met.
About 6,500 healthcare workers in the National Healthcare System (ESY) were suspended without pay in September 2021, when the ministry’s deadline for them to get the vaccine expired.
About half then relented and returned after getting inoculated and of there are 170 doctors among those suspended the rest are nursing and other paramedical and administrative personnel who witnessed the horror of the Coronavirus but still opposed vaccinations.
While the government essentially ended health restrictions in a bid to lure tourists – which worked – and the story is out of the headlines, health authorities said there were 43,914 cases from Nov. 21-27, including 28 reinfections and that 93 people were intubated and 118 others died.