NEWS

Health workers striking over obligatory shots

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The union representing Greek public hospital staff (POEDIN) is planning a strike and a rally in downtown Athens on Thursday to protest the mandatory vaccination of healthcare workers against Covid-19.

The strike will last from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with protesters expected to gather in front of the Health Ministry at 11 a.m. 

POEDIN has also called on its inoculated members not to submit their immunity certificates to the authorities to prevent the creation of a register showing which healthcare workers have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus and which have not. 

Health workers who refuse the shot face suspension without pay. POEDIN claims that the law making vaccination compulsory for all health workers will only put additional strain on the public healthcare system by creating more staff shortages.

In addition, POEDIN announced it is submitting a request for the suspension and annulment of the law on the obligation of vaccination to the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court.

According to the federation, the striking workers, many of whom have been vaccinated, are doing so “not out of solidarity” but because they know that they will be called on to fill in the gaps left behind by the suspensions. It said that 90% of health personnel are vaccinated or have natural immunity.

POEDIN President Michalis Giannakos clarified to Kathimerini that the federation is in favor of vaccination, stressing that it does not agree with extreme views of anti-vaccine health workers. What they are asking, he said, is for more time to be given to their colleagues to be convinced.

“Of course everyone should be vaccinated, we do not want to give a message that they should not be vaccinated,” he said.