With the fourth wave of the pandemic in full swing, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced Monday that vaccinations against Covid-19 will be mandatory for healthcare workers and nursing home staff.
The measure for nursing home staff is effective immediately, while healthcare workers will have to be vaccinated starting September 1.
Moreover, Mitsotakis also announced new restrictions to stem the spread of the virus, such as only allowing vaccinated customers indoors in bars, cinemas, theaters and other closed spaces.
Referring to staff at nursing homes whose residents he said are the most vulnerable, the PM said those that do not get vaccinated will face suspension.
“Those who do not do so will be suspended from work from August 16 onward. We cannot allow those who are supposed to protect those who are most at risk to be the possible carriers of this very risk,” he stressed.
As for the mandatory vaccination of healthcare professionals in the public and private sectors beginning on September 1, Mitsotakis said it “is inconceivable, for example, that an unvaccinated nurse would care for an immunosuppressed cancer patient.”
“I am sure that a large part of society agrees with this decision. And I ask all parties to support it without asterisks and reservations,” he added.
Kathimerini understands that the penalty that is being discussed for those healthcare workers refusing vaccination will be unpaid leave.
However, no final decisions have been made.
Mitsotakis also noted that, 18 months after the outbreak of the pandemic, Greece now has the vaccines to ensure the safety of every citizen.
“After a year and a half, no one can claim that they do not know about the coronavirus. The government has shielded public health and citizens with self-tests and vaccines for everyone,” he said.
“It is necessary that by the end of August, 70% of the adult population has been vaccinated,” he added.
He warned, however, that “the appearance of the Delta variants and a percentage [of the population] that is reluctant to be vaccinated” remain a serious double threat, as they are in other countries.