Greek healthcare workers protest over mandatory Covid vaccinations

More restrictions imposed on unvaccinated amid spike in infections and deaths

Healthcare workers, opposing mandatory coronavirus vaccinations and the suspension from work for those who refuse to get the shots, chant slogans during a protest outside the Greek Parliament. Photograph: Petros Giannakouris/AP

Hundreds of Greek healthcare workers protested in central Athens against mandatory coronavirus vaccines for their profession on Wednesday, a day after the government imposed more restrictions on unvaccinated Greeks amid a spike in infections, hospital admissions and deaths.

About 300 demonstrators chanted slogans and held up banners outside the parliament building, protesting against regulations that call for unvaccinated healthcare workers to be suspended from their jobs.

Healthcare unions have said they do not oppose the vaccines but object to them being required.

Vaccines against the coronavirus are compulsory for workers in Greece’s healthcare sector and those working in care homes for the elderly.


On Tuesday, Greece reported a record 6,700 new daily Covid-19 cases and 59 deaths, bringing the total in the country of about 11 million to more than 750,000 infections and more than 16,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Intensive care units for Covid-19 patients are at more than 28 per cent capacity, while regular coronavirus wards in hospitals are nearly half full, officials said.

The health minister, Thanos Plevris, said on Tuesday that tougher restrictions would be imposed as of Saturday for all unvaccinated people in Greece.

Anyone without a certificate of vaccination or recent recovery from Covid-19 will need to display a negative PCR or rapid test, conducted at their own cost at a private facility, for access to a wide range of facilities, including banks, public services, shops, hair salons and entertainment venues.

Public and private sector employees will also have to take two tests per week, up from the current one, to enter their workplaces.

About 61 per cent of Greece’s total population has been fully vaccinated, and people aged 12 and over are eligible for shots.

Booster shots are available for those over 50, and will be available starting on Friday to all adults who received their last vaccine dose six months earlier. – Associated Press