Medical staff who were not vaccinated against Covid-19 returned to work in Greece on Monday, sixteen months after their suspension, the Hellenic Federation of Public Hospital Employees (POEDIN) said in a press release.
This return of around 2,000 nurses to public hospitals and emergency services follows a decision by the State Council, the highest administrative court, that forced the government to lift the ban. The reinsertion of these carers is “a big breath for the system, but the problem of staff shortages remains”, underlined the POEDIN.
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Around 5,000 other people, also unvaccinated, have already been able to resume or continue their professional activity because, for example, a medical certificate had confirmed that they had already been infected with the virus. In Greece, vaccination became mandatory for nursing home staff in August 2021 and two weeks later for caregivers, sparking opposition demonstrations.
The anti-vaccination movement has experienced something of a boom in a country that suffered from severe lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, to the point where Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis asserted in late 2021 that Greece was facing an “unvaccinated pandemic”. Most Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted in Greece except in health facilities and public transport. But in the subways, buses or trams, most travelers do not have a mask, despite the obligation to wear it.