HealthMin Mihaila: Unvaccinated healthcare workers to undergo periodical testing if COVID-19 rate increases

Health Minister Ioana Mihaila says that if the COVID-19 14-day cumulated reporting rate increases beyond certain limits, the Health Ministry will suggest periodic testing of unvaccinated healthcare workers, with the costs to be borne by those undergoing the testing.

“We will most likely come up with a proposal to have unvaccinated healthcare workers tested periodically to ensure the safety of the patients they come in contact with. But that will only happen if certain levels of the cumulated reporting rate are exceeded. Obviously, now, at such low rates, the circulation of the virus does not support such a scenario,” the minister told Digi 24 private broadcaster on Sunday.

Mihaila added that at this moment, according to the National Public Health Institute (INSP) methodology, the rate is 1.5 cases per 1,000 population.

According to the minister, the costs of the test will not be covered by the public health system.

“There will be rapid testing or PCR testing at a certain frequency decided by INSP specialists, only for the unvaccinated healthcare workers. (…) The costs will not be covered by the public health system; in principle, the costs should be the responsibility of the person who is unvaccinated,” said Mihaila.

She explained that certain professional categories need to think about the people they come in contact with, even if vaccination is optional.

“Vaccination is optional; it is good for to be up to each of us whether we get vaccinated or not, but I think that for certain professional categories, such as the healthcare workers, it is important that they think about the people with whom they come in contact as well, that is in general vulnerable patients, with chronic diseases, with a lot of other conditions, and then it is important to be responsible. In general, when we choose to get vaccinated, we must understand that it is a responsibility to our health, but it is also a great responsibility for the health of those around us, and then I think it is incumbent on the healthcare workers not to endanger those with whom they come in contact,” added the minister.

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