France’s health care workers could lose their jobs if they aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19. Some hospitals are worried about staff shortages as there are still 300,000.
French emergency workers, medical staff, and home care staff must have at least one shot of vaccines. If they fail to do so, their pay could be suspended or stopped from working. However, a high court has prohibited staff from being fired.
France’s parliament approved the mandate over the summer after the government claimed that the measure was necessary to protect the public and patients from future COVID-19 surges. France has seen more than 113,000 deaths from the virus, with health officials claiming that most of the hospitalized during the latest surge were not vaccinated.
Nearly 90% of French healthcare workers are vaccinated. Polls show that most people support mandatory vaccinations for all staff.
Some hospitals already face strains from the pandemic, and others are still catching up on treatment.
Christophe Prudhomme (an emergency room doctor who is also a member of the CGT union) said, “We are raising alarm… If you insist on implementing the measure, your beds will be shut down, thus reducing the chances (of survival), for a number [of patients],” during a demonstration outside the Health Ministry on Tuesday.
Tuesday’s announcement by the government health authority stated that 300,000 workers in health care were still not vaccinated.
Health care workers who have received only one dose of vaccine must take a test for the virus every three days until they receive the second. Oct. 15 is considered the deadline for both vaccines.
Employers and firms that fail to verify the vaccination status of their employees are subject to a 135 Euro ($160) penalty. This fine can be increased to 3,750 Euros ($4,430) for each subsequent failure.
Around 87% of adults have had at least one vaccination, and 83% are fully-vaccinated in France.
However, a minority of people, including health care workers, are against the coronavirus vaccines. Many are concerned about incorrect information that is being circulated online about vaccines, and want to have more time to make a decision. Others are upset at the government and its mandate, but not the vaccines.
“I’m not a revolutionary. I’m just afraid. We are thousands in this situation.” I want them to listen to us and sit and talk around a table,” said Rachid Ouchem, a medical-psychological assistant at a hospital in Plaisir west of Paris who doesn’t want to be vaccinated and is facing suspension.
He told The Associated Press, “We cannot decide ourselves, but we have doubts.” “We heard politicians say one thing and the opposite.”
Scientists point out that vaccines used in France were widely tested and data was shared. Globally, there have been 5.7 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines administered. This gives a remarkable overview of vaccines’ effects on human health.
Two months of weekly protests have been held by far-right activists as well as other groups against France’s “health card” system. These systems are required for restaurants and other venues in France. A third Paris protest is planned for Wednesday.