September 20, 2021

France tightens vaccine policy for health workers

The French government, along with thousands of health workers and caregivers, faced strong criticism on Wednesday over a new rule banning them from receiving the Covid 19 vaccine or without pay.

As of Wednesday, hospital staff, ambulance drivers, retirement home workers, private doctors, fire service members and people caring for the elderly or infirm in their homes – a total of about 2.7 million people – will be able to prove it. They should have at least one shot of the vaccine

President Emmanuel Macron issued an ultimatum two months ago, but tens of thousands of caregivers remain unvaccinated.

Strict CGT, one of France’s largest public sector unions, has warned that if the government suspends a large number of health workers and stops private sector doctors from practicing.

Weekly protests across France over the past two months have joined opponents of a new Corona virus “health pass” required to enter restaurants, cafes and museums.

Health workers protest.
Tens of thousands of health workers and carers remain insecure despite President Emmanuel Macron’s ultimatum to get unpaid jobs or face suspension

On Tuesday, a few hundred people took part in a union-led demonstration outside the Ministry of Health in Paris.

“Whether we’re vaccinated or not, we’re against making it mandatory,” Valerie, a 57-year-old nursing assistant, told AFP.

The BFM News Channel reported Tuesday that a hospital in the southern city of Montelimar has begun canceling dozens of scheduled operations next week due to a lack of vaccinated anesthetists.

Covid-19 vaccine
France is not the first country to take steps to force people working with vulnerable people to get vaccinated, and the government has vowed to do so. Photo: AFP / Jean-Franکوois Munier

“Four theaters will not be able to function normally,” Henry Usman, director of the hospital’s medical commission, told the network.

Estimates released a week ago by the National Public Health Agency show that about 12 per cent of hospital staff and about six per cent of doctors still have to be vaccinated in private practice.

The National Federation of Ambulance Workers FNMS estimated in late August that 13% of its members were still resisting corona virus shots.

Emil Benoitman, a 41-year-old nurse and father of three working at a psychiatric hospital in the northern city of Lille, told AFP he was “very worried” about the harmful effects of the vaccine, even if it meant losing his job. Is

“I already have a mild case of covid and consider that the risks outweigh the benefits,” he said during a rally in Lille on Saturday.

France is not the first country to take steps to force people working with vulnerable people to be vaccinated.

US President Joe Biden last week made the vaccine mandatory for the businesses of millions of federal employees and contractors, as well as more than 100 employees.

In Europe, Italy made the vaccine mandatory for health workers in late May and plans to increase the measure to retirement home staff in October, while Greece has already introduced it in both types of careers.

Despite calls for leniency from French unions, the government has vowed to look at policy.

“We will not back down,” Prime Minister Jean Costak warned last month.

Copyright AFP All rights reserved.

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