France has suspended 3,000 health workers without pay for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of a deadline this week.
“A large number of these suspensions will be temporary,” Health Minister Olivier Veran told RTL radio, adding that the suspensions mostly came from support service staff, such as those in laundry or food preparation.
Veran further said that “very few” doctors and nurses remain unvaccinated as “many have decided to be vaccinated, seeing that the obligation was a reality.”
Sante Publique, the French national public health authority, estimated last week that roughly 12% of hospital staff and about 6% of doctors in private practice have not been vaccinated.
According to AP-HP, the organization of Paris public hospitals, 340 of its staff had been suspended.
At a hospital in the city of Nice, 450 staff have been suspended while 100 have been suspended at Perpignan.
Veran also said “several dozens” resigned instead of signing up to take the vaccine.
Still, Veran said that “continued healthcare is assured” with an estimated 2.7 million health workers in France.
Last July, President Emmanuel Macron told staff at hospitals, retirement home workers, and fire service to get at least one dose of the vaccine by Sept. 15 or face unpaid suspension.
According to Sante Publique, 73.9% of the French population have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while 70% have been fully vaccinated as of Sept. 14.
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