Thousands of health care workers suspended in France after failing to get vaccinated

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 25: One-shot doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are prepared at a clinic targeting immigrant community members on March 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. The clinic, run by the St. John's Well Child and Family Center, estimates it has vaccinated more than 100,000 people in the Los Angeles area amid reports of two undocumented women who were refused coronavirus vaccinations in Orange County Rite Aid stores. Rite Aid has called the refusals mistakes in a written statement. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Around 3,000 health care workers have been suspended in France after failing to meet a government requirement to get vaccinated against COVID-19, French Health Minister Olivier Véran told French radio station RTL Thursday.

The employees missed a Sept. 15 deadline to be inoculated, which was introduced by the government in July.

In the southern city of Nice, 320 staff members at the University Hospital were suspended on Wednesday and around another 100 are still having their status checked, the facility’s media relations officer Isabelle Battarel told CNN.

A dozen resignations have been handed in by health care workers over the policy, but Veran said there hasn’t been “any chaos” stemming from the departures.

On July 12 French President Emmanuel Macron announced that all health care workers — including those in hospitals, nursing and retirement homes and home-care nurses — must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk suspension or dismissal from Wednesday.

There are about 2.7 million health care workers in the country.

Macron’s move was part of a sweeping set of measures to encourage vaccinations after the rate of jabs slowed over the summer.

Since August, any adult without a “health pass” showing proof of their vaccination status or a recent negative test is unable to enter bars and cafes, or travel long distances by train.

The majority of the health care workers suspended so far are support staff, Veran said, adding that “a great number of the suspensions are only temporary.”

“Many of them decided to get vaccinated, seeing the obligation was a reality,” he said.

Veran added that the most important thing is that “all people in contact with fragile or elderly French people are henceforth vaccinated.”

Almost two-thirds of France’s population is fully vaccinated, with another 10% having had one dose of a two-jab regimen.

The country’s seven-day coronavirus incidence fell on Wednesday below 100 positive cases per 100,000 people for the first time since July 18, according to public health agency data.


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