Approximately 3,000 health workers in France have been suspended because to a lack of Covid-19 vaccination.
Vaccination is now required for the country’s 2.7 million health, care home, and fire service employees, according to a new rule that went into effect on Wednesday.
On Thursday, however, French Health Minister Olivier Véran stated that “the majority of the suspensions are simply temporary.”
He claims that more people are now willing to get vaccinated because “they see that the vaccination mandate is a reality.”
All doctors, nurses, office workers, and volunteers are subject to the rule.
On July 12, President Emmanuel Macron gave workers notice of the rule change, advising them that they needed to receive at least one vaccination by September 15 or risk losing their employment.
He added at the time, “I am aware of what I am asking of you, and I know that you are ready for this commitment; it is part, in a sense, of your feeling of duty.”
Following the president’s announcement, Doctolib, the website where people book their vaccinations, crashed as a result of the large number of people attempting to get appointments.
However, with the mandate in place and hundreds of people still refusing to get the vaccine, there are concerns that healthcare services may be disrupted.
Almost 450 personnel have been suspended in a single hospital in Nice, southern France, provoking protests outside the institution.
According to the AFP news agency, one hospital in Montélimar revealed that it had already begun canceling non-urgent surgeries due to a scarcity of vaccinated anaesthetists.
“We have to keep these people on the job until they are replaced,” said Christophe Prudhomme, a left-wing MP and emergency doctor.
Mr Véran, on the other hand, told French radio RTL on Thursday that “the continuity of care, the security of care, and the quality of care were assured yesterday in all hospitals and medico-social facilities,” despite the fact that a few services, such as MRI scans, were disrupted for a few hours.
He went on to say that the suspensions mostly affected support employees and “a couple of white coats.” He added that there had been “a few dozen resignations” around the country.
France was one of the most vaccine-skeptical countries in the world when the vaccines were initially introduced.
Then, according to an Ipsos poll, around 40% of eligible adults stated they planned to get immunized. Meanwhile, according to BBC Monitoring, the number of followers of French-language pages disseminating anti-vaccine propaganda increased from 3.2 million to over 4.1 million in 2020.
France, on the other hand, has become one of the world’s most vaccinated countries after the introduction of a Covid “health pass” in July.
Almost all adults have now had at least one vaccination. France has already begun immunizing children aged 12 and up, as well as providing booster shots to those who are at risk.
Vaccine mandates elsewhere in the world
The introduction of a vaccine requirement is not unique to France.
From October 15, all employees in Italy will be required to have an anti-Covid “green pass,” which means that those who cannot present proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test would be penalized.
On Wednesday, regional affairs minister Mariastella Gelmini said, “The administration is ready to hurry up on the ‘green pass’… (for) not just the public sector, but also the private sector.”
Anyone in Italy who wishes to eat indoors at restaurants, travel to cinemas and sports stadiums, or ride specific public transportation or flights must already have a green permit. It is already required for teachers.
Unvaccinated public and private sector workers in Greece are required to undergo Covid tests once or twice a week at their own expense. The rule went into effect on September 13th.
Vaccines were also made required for federal government employees and contractors, as well as all firms with more than 100 employees, in the United States last week. About 100 million workers are affected by the rule.
President Joe Biden of the United States advised that if people did not get vaccinated, they should expect to be tested for Covid-19 on a weekly basis.
As he revealed the idea, he added, “This is not about freedom or personal choice; it’s about protecting yourself and others around you.”