5,895 unvaccinated health workers have been suspended or are in the process of being suspended from working in Greece. The suspensions follow a new law that mandates vaccines among healthcare workers, under penalty of suspension from their workplace.
The Suspension Commission of the Council of State, Greece’s top administrative court, rejected applications that were submitted by healthcare workers attempting to block the law mandating employees in the national healthcare system be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Panhellenic Federation of Public Hospital Employees (POEDIN) has submitted an appeal to completely annul the law. The appeal will be reviewed by the court’s plenary on October 8th.
Mitsotakis suspends all unvaccinated health workers in Greece on September 1
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis decided in July that all healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, who work in public and private hospitals and health clinics would be required to get their shot by the first of September.
The law had already set in on August 16th for those working in elder care facilities. Starting today, healthcare workers who remain unvaccinated against Covid-19 will be put on unpaid leave in Greece.
Any healthcare workers — including doctors, nurses, paramedics, and administrative support staff in private or public hospitals, clinics, and care facilities — who refuse to be vaccinated will lose their social security during their unpaid leave if Parliament approves the motion.
The suspension without pay will last until the person receives the vaccine or “as long as the pandemic lasts,” according to a statement from the Ministry.
In order to cover any loss of staff, the Greek Health Ministry has proposed hiring healthcare workers on three-month contracts.
Worrying Covid-19 ICU occupancy rate in Greece
The occupancy rate in intensive care units nationally is nearly 60%, University of Patras Medical School professor and pathologist Charalambos Gogos said earlier in the week.
On Crete the occupancy rate is 96.5 percent, he told journalists at a live briefing on the pandemic, adding that the vast majority of the hospitalized patients are unvaccinated.
“Until we reach the necessary immunity rate, which may reach over 80-85%, we need to follow individual protection measures thoroughly,” said Gogos, who also sits at the Health Ministry’s committee on the pandemic.
The fourth wave is expanding globally due to the Delta variant, which has dominated all other strains to a rate of 85% in all new cases.
The whole of Greece has turned red
The Covid-19 pandemic in Greece is worsening as data from European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows.
The whole country is now colored in red, meaning that the 14-day cumulative COVID-19 case notification rate ranges from 75 to 200 and the test positivity rate of tests for COVID-19 infection is four percent.
The news is more disheartening for the regions of Crete, the Ionian islands, the Cyclades and the Dodecanese which are marked in deep red, meaning that the 14-day cumulative COVID-19 case notification rate is 500 or more. This suggests that all but essential travel to and from these regions is discouraged.
Cyprus is also colored in deep red.
The ECDC, the European Centers for Disease Control, updates the Covid-19 status of each country weekly.