Doctors and nursing staff returning to work after being suspended for refusing to get vaccinated against Covid-19 will not be allowed in intensive care units and cancer wards, according to proposals by the Health Ministry’s committee of experts explained in Parliament on Wednesday.
Both doctors and support staff are returning to work as of January 1, 2023, after being suspended without pay in the coronavirus pandemic.
The committee had recommended that support staff such as nurses and assistants provide two rapid tests a week and wear a high-protection mask. The recommendation for doctors was disclosed by Health Minister Thanos Plevris at Parliament, pending an official announcement of the government.
“For doctors and nursing staff, the recommendation is that they not be allowed in intensive care units and hospitalization areas where patients are immunosuppressed, such as in cancer wards,” Plevris said.
Asked by MPs whether they would receive back pay for wages lost, Plevris responded, “there is no issue of payment. Once they return, they will start to get paid.” He clarified that the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, found the measure of suspension constitutional, but struck down its last extension, beyond the end of 2022.
Regarding the monthly fine on citizens above 60 years of age who refused to be vaccinated, the fine will be deleted if they got vaccinated after receiving the fine, he said.
“It is truly a tough measure,” the minister said. “There is no minister who like to impose fines, but in this way, vaccination jumped from 55% to 80%. As soon as the fine was announced, there were 250,000 citizens who decided to be vaccinated from this age group. Therefore, the fine was effective.” [amna]