- Title: Greek health workers stage protest over mandatory vaccinations
- Date: 26th August 2021
- Summary: ATHENS, GREECE (AUGUST 26, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF HUNDREDS OF PUBLIC HEALTH CARE WORKERS MARCHING IN THE STREETS CARRYING BANNERS PROTESTERS MARCHING AND CHANTING (Greek) "THIS STRIKE IS JUST THE BEGINNING" PROTESTERS MARCHING VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS MARCHING AND CHANTING (Greek) "LISTEN WELL, ALL THE WORKERS WILL KEEP THEIR JOBS" PROTESTERS CLAPPING AND CHANTING: (Greek) "IT'S US OR THEM" (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) PROTESTER, ARGYRI EROTOKRITOU, A DOCTOR AT A PUBLIC HOSPITAL, SAYING: "This is a measure that offers nothing beyond forcing us to lose 10,000 colleagues at public hospitals." VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS GATHERED OUTSIDE HEALTH MINISTRY DURING FOUR-HOUR WORK STOPPAGE PRESIDENT OF GREEK PUBLIC HOSPITAL WORKERS' UNION, MICHALIS YIANNAKOS, SPEAKING INTO MEGAPHONE (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) PRESIDENT OF GREEK PUBLIC HOSPITAL WORKERS' UNION (POEDIN), MICHALIS YIANNAKOS, SAYING: "We are resolute, and will support our unvaccinated colleagues both on the streets and in the courts. They consist of a tiny number, and have for the last 18-19 months been on the frontlines, caring for patients in the Covid wards, and have not ever gotten infected, and now they are being thrown out on the streets." VARIOUS OF PROTESTER WITH DRUM VARIOUS OF PROTESTER CHANTING INTO MEGAPHONE (Greek) "MASS HIRINGS IN HEALTH NOW, MITSOTAKIS SHOULD GO INTO UNEMPLOYMENT" (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) PROTESTER, EVANGELIA KARATZOULI, A NURSE AT A PUBLIC HOSPITAL, SAYING: "I'm here today because I want to support the constitutional right of every Greek citizen to say 'yes' or 'no' to vaccination. I personally am vaccinated, but I believe it is my colleagues right to not get vaccinated if they don't want to." THREE AMBULANCES PARKED ON STREET DURING PROTEST
- Embargoed: 9th September 2021 14:21
- Keywords: Covid-19 Greek health workers mandatory vaccinations protest march
- Location: ATHENS, GREECE
- City: ATHENS, GREECE
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Europe,Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001ERX42TJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Hundreds of Greek health care workers marched through Athens on Thursday (August 26) to protest the government's new policy of mandatory vaccinations for those working in the health care sector.
Health care workers who have not had at least one shot of the vaccine by September 1 would be suspended indefinitely from their jobs.
Other new measures include ending free testing for the unvaccinated and obliging them to pay for their weekly tests, to encourage them to get inoculated and head off any renewed spike in Delta variant infections of the coronavirus.
But public hospital doctors and nurses worry that it is a punitive measure that will only make their job harder.
"This is a measure that offers nothing beyond forcing us to lose 10,000 colleagues at public hospitals," said protester Dr. Argyri Erotokritou.
According to POEDIN, the union of public hospital workers, the unvaccinated make up just 10% of hospital and emergency care workers.
The health care workers held a four-hour work stoppage, and chanted "this strike is just the beginning" during the demonstration.
The measures come as Greece hit a new daily record of infections on Tuesday (August 24) with 4,608 new confirmed cases.
"For eight months now, we have had vaccines available and we have a choice that we did not have before - to live within the wall of immunity or remain outside it. Do we live, along with everyone we care about, safely and with the lowest possible risk of winding up in a hospital bed, in an ICU, or do we play Russian roulette with the coronavirus," said Greek health minister Vassilis Kikilias, during a briefing on Tuesday when he announces the new measures.
Authorities said some six million people in the country of 11 million had already received one or two doses of a coronavirus vaccine, but that a million more were needed to build adequate immunity through the population.
The country has recorded a total of 566,812 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections and 13,466 deaths since reporting its first COVID-19 outbreak in February 2020.
(Production: Stelios Misinas, Phoebe Fronista)
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