ATHENS – Greece's New Democracy government has set aside any idea of forcing health care workers on the front lines of battling the COVID-19 pandemic to be vaccinated although they are public employees.
Talk of whether the workers should be required to get the shots at the same time the government is urging everyone else to be inoculated won't even be taken up until September although Greece is advertising itself as safe to lure tourists.
Government officials not named told Kathimerini that the vaccination scheme called Eleftheria (Freedom) is accelerating and could hit 60 percent in July – still below the 70 percent needed to beat back the Coronavirus and bring immunity.
That level, they said, is a reason why the government doesn't want to tangle with doctors and nurses as most physicians and health professionals are trying to persuade others that the vaccines are safe and effective.
“Better persuasion than enforcement,” Giorgos Chrousos, Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics and Endocrinology at Athens University told the paper even though that's not working.
He said doctors and medical teams must understand if they're not vaccinated that they and their patients are at risk, which would seen to be obvious to them but apparently is not.
“There is already a law in our country that allows the Health Minister to order mandatory vaccination at times of great epidemic outbreaks. It just hasn’t been activated,” he said with no explanation from the government.
Panhellenic Medical Association President Athanasios Exadaktylos told the paper that even though medical workers are not obliged, there “is data at this stage that renders vaccination necessary,” which some doctors disbelieve.