Following a new no jab, no job rule for healthcare worker, which came into force on Wednesday, about 3,000 health workers in France have been suspended for not being vaccinated against Covid-19.
The new rule makes vaccination mandatory for the nation’s 2.7 million health, care home and fire service workers but French Health Minister Olivier Véran said on Thursday that “most of the suspensions are only temporary”.
Many of the suspended workers are reportedly now going to get jabbed because “they see that the vaccination mandate is a reality”, the rule also applies to doctors, nurses, office staff and volunteers.
President Emmanuel Macron first gave workers notice of the rule change on 12 July, warning them that they needed to get at least one jab by 15 September or resign from their jobs.
“I am aware of what I am asking of you, and I know that you are ready for this commitment, this is part, in a way, of your sense of duty,” he said at the time.
In just one hospital in Nice in southern France, for example, almost 450 workers have been suspended – sparking protests outside the building.
And in another southern city, Montélimar, one hospital confirmed that it had already begun cancelling non-urgent operations because of a shortage of vaccinated anaesthetists. “We have to keep these people on the job until they have been replaced,” Christophe Prudhomme, an emergency doctor and left-wing MP, said.
But Véran insist that “the continuity of care and the security of care and quality of care were assured yesterday in all hospitals and medico-social facilities”, although a few services, such as MRI scans, were impacted for a few hours.
He added that the suspensions mainly affected support staff, and “few white coats”. There have also been “a few dozen resignations” across the country, he said.
Almost 90% of all adults have now had at least one jab. France has also started vaccinating children aged 12 and over, and is administering booster jabs to vulnerable people.