Wednesday, January 19, 2022

France makes Covid-19 jabs mandatory for all health workers

The French will also have to carry a health pass to be permitted to enter everyday places like restaurants and shops.

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All healthcare workers in France, including doctors, nurses, office staff, and volunteers must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by September or risk not being paid.

President Emmanuel Macron has also announced that from next month, health passes will need to be shown to access shops, bars, cinemas, and long-distance train journeys, with more places being added to the list.

The passes show the holder has been vaccinated, or had a recent negative test.

“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,” the president said in a televised address to the nation on Monday.

“The country is facing a strong resumption of the epidemic,” he said, against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower.

Warning of a new wave of potential hospitalisations in August, he said, “The equation is simple. The more we vaccinate, the less space we leave this virus to circulate.”

The mandatory vaccinations will apply to anyone who comes into contact with vulnerable people, and therefore applies to everyone who works in hospitals, clinics, and care homes, regardless of their role.

They must be vaccinated by Sept 15 or jeopardise their salary, Health Minister Olivier Véran told France’s LCI television.

Health passes are already used to enter some venues, such as nightclubs, which reopened for the first time at the weekend. However they will be expanded to include more places including festivals, theatres and hospitals from July 21 and will apply to everyone over 12.

To encourage people to get their shots, PCR covid tests that are currently free will now have to be paid for, unless performed with a doctor’s prescription.

Euronews reports that the country has seen some vaccine hesitancy in recent weeks, amid a feeling that the virus was perhaps no longer a threat, and with people putting off their jabs until after taking their annual summer holiday.

After the president’s announcement, Doctolib, the website people use to book their jabs, crashed as so many people tried secure appointments.

Case numbers of the highly contagious Delta variant are soaring and causing a surge in hospital admissions.

On Friday, a panel of scientists who advise the French government on health matters warned of a fourth wave in the coming months, and said as many as 95% of people may need to be vaccinated to control the spread.

However, only a little over half of the population has received a first dose and less than 40% have had two shots.

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