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Ten Greek COVID Vaccine Centers Probed for Fake Certificates

September 8, 2021

ATHENS – After 44 cases of fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination certificates were found at one center, an investigation has broadened to include 10 Greek facilities suspected of issuing fake documents people had been inoculated.

The National Transparency Authority (NTA) is looking at the facilities after a first batch of fake documents were found, leading the New Democracy government to propose 5,000-euro ($5906) fines for each one, but no report whether they would be prosecuted.

NTA chief Angelos Binis told state-run broadcaster ERT that besides the Palamas Health Center in Karditsa, central Greece, which gave out the 44 fakes that the probe into the other centers has already shown “initial indications of a fraudulent scheme.”

It wasn't said if the false documents were sold or whether they were given to anti-vaxxers who said the shots aren't safe or effective but wanted certificates so they would evade restrictions for the unvaccinated.

The NTA is cross-referencing data, such as in which vaccination centers there are registrations very late at night or show a large fluctuation in the number of vaccinations, Binis said.

The 44 fake documents were issued by an unnamed administrative employee who got access to the electronic platform and registered people as vaccinated, discovered when discrepancies were noticed on the printed certificates, said Kathimerini.

Doctors and other medical professional found guilty of issuing false certificates of vaccination against or recovery from COVID-19 will be fined for each, according to a Heath Ministry amendment. It wasn't said whether they would lose their licenses to be practice, rare in Greece even for doctors taking bribes.

The fine also applies to individuals caught using such false certificates in order to keep their jobs, gain entrance to leisure venues or enjoy other freedoms reserved for the vaccinated.

Fines will also be imposed against owners or managers of medical facilities and care homes that keep unvaccinated workers as those in the health sector are now required to be inoculated.

The legislation also makes vaccination mandatory for teaching staff and students at university and technical college medical and nursing schools, with those refusing being suspended without pay.

The measure gives employers at healthcare facilities, care homes for the elderly and facilities caring for people with disabilities the right to refuse employment to people who are not vaccinated. 

They also face fines of 10,000-50,000 euros ($11,813-$59,064) for every unvaccinated worker they keep on, the penalties rising to up to 200,000 euros ($236,355) for each repeated offense.

The Health Ministry amendment also puts a cap of 10 euros ($11.81), not including taxes on the cost of rapid tests at diagnostic and other medical facilities and penalizing issuance of false certificates showing a negative COVID test, the report also added.

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