Unvaccinated French health care workers face suspension

Sep 14, 2021, 12:17 PM | Updated: Sep 15, 2021, 1:01 am
A medical worker holds a placard reading : "Money for Hospital, Not for the Capital, Our Solution H...

A medical worker holds a placard reading : "Money for Hospital, Not for the Capital, Our Solution Hospitals beds, Employs and quick", during a protest gathering outside the Health Ministry, in Paris, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021 against a law requiring them to get vaccinated by Wednesday or risk suspension from their jobs. The law is aimed at protecting patients from new surges of COVID-19. Most of the French population is vaccinated but a vocal minority are against the vaccine mandate. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

(AP Photo/Francois Mori)

PARIS (AP) — Health care workers in France face suspension from their jobs starting Wednesday if they haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19. With about 300,000 workers still not vaccinated, some hospitals fear staff shortages will add to their strain.

Vaccines are now compulsory for medical care, home care and emergency workers in France, and Wednesday is the deadline for such staff to have had at least one shot. Failing that, they face having pay suspended or not being able to work. But a top court has forbidden staff to be fired outright.

The mandate was approved by France’s parliament over the summer, after the government insisted that the measure was needed to protect patients and the public from new surges of COVID-19. More than 113,000 people with the virus have died in France, and health authorities say most of those hospitalized in the most recent surge weren’t vaccinated.

Nearly 90% of French health care workers are estimated to be vaccinated, and polls suggest most people support the vaccine mandate for medical staff.

But since some hospitals are already facing strains after a year and half of fighting the pandemic and catching up on other treatments, some fear staff shortages could spell disaster.

“We are raising the alarm … if you insist on implementing this measure your beds will be closed, thus reducing chances (of survival) for a number of patients,” said Christophe Prudhomme, emergency room doctor and CGT union member, at a protest outside the Health Ministry on Tuesday.

The government health authority said Tuesday that 300,000 health workers remained unvaccinated.

If health care workers have had only one dose, they have to take a virus test every three days until they have completed the second one. Oct. 15 is the legal deadline for both vaccines to have been completed.

Firms and employers failing to verify the vaccination statuses of their staff are liable for a 135 euro ($160) fine that can rise to 3,750 euros ($4,430) for repeated failure.

Amid the population at large, about 87% of adults have received at least one jab and 83% are fully vaccinated in France.

But a small, vocal minority of people are opposed to the coronavirus vaccines, including some health care workers. Many cite incorrect information about the vaccines circulating online, worry about their long-term effects or want more time to decide. Others are angry at the government and the mandate, not the vaccines themselves.

“I am not a revolutionary, I am just afraid and 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.

“We can’t decide ourselves, we have doubts,” he told The Associated Press. “We had politicians saying one thing and its opposite.”

Scientists note that the vaccines used in France were tested widely and the data shared publicly. Worldwide, 5.7 billion coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered so far, providing a exceptionally broad overview of vaccines’ impact on people’s health.

The vaccine mandate and France’s “health pass” system required for restaurants and other venues have prompted two months of weekly protests by far-right activists and some other groups. Another Paris protest is planned Wednesday.

___

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at:

https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - In this June 23, 2021, file photo, Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar's armed forces, Senior Gen....
Associated Press

Myanmar skips ASEAN summit to protest general’s exclusion

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Southeast Asian leaders began a virtual summit Tuesday, with Myanmar skipping the annual meeting in protest after its top general was shut out for refusing to cooperate in defusing the crisis in his country since the military takeover. The exclusion of Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing was an embarrassment for […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

UN: Iran executes people at `alarming rate’ — 250 in 2020

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran executed over 250 people, including at least four child offenders, in 2020 and so far this year has carried out 230 executions that included nine women and one child who was executed in secret, the U.N. independent investigator on human rights in Iran said Monday. Javaid Rehman told the U.N. […]
20 hours ago
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, left, listens to Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce dur...
Associated Press

Morrison says Australia to exceed 2030 emissions target

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday the country is set to reduce emissions by 35% below 2005 levels by 2030, but he won’t commit to such a target at the U.N. climate conference in Scotland. Morrison said his government would stick with Australia’s current 2030 target of reducing emissions […]
20 hours ago
In this Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, photo trucks line up next to containers at the Port of Los Angeles ...
Associated Press

Ports of LA, Long Beach to fine firms over container backlog

LOS ANGELES (AP) — In an effort to ease congestion at the nation’s busiest port complex, officials said Monday that they will start fining shipping companies whose cargo containers linger for too long at marine terminals. The twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach said in a statement that arriving containers scheduled to be […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Kim Wyman, Washington state's Secretary of State, poses for a photo on Sept. 15, 2020, in Ol...
Associated Press

GOP election chief who rejects fraud claims up for fed job

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican secretary of state who challenged former President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud in 2020 is the front-runner for a job heading the Biden administration’s effort to protect future elections, according to people familiar with the discussions. Kim Wyman, 59, has led elections in Washington state for years, and […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Former top UN official appointed next UN envoy for Myanmar

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday announced the appointment of former U.N. undersecretary-general Noeleen Heyzer of Singapore as the new U.N. special envoy for conflict-torn Myanmar. She will succeed Christine Schraner Burgener of Switzerland, whose 3½ years in the post saw moves toward democracy dashed in a military takeover of the Southeast […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Unvaccinated French health care workers face suspension