Some 300,000 workers still unprotected from Coronavirus

Health care workers in France can be suspended from their jobs starting Wednesday if they haven’t been vaccinated against Covid-19, the government said. With as many as 300,000 workers still not vaccinated, some hospitals fear staff shortages will add to their strain, the Associated Press reports.

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 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.

More than 90% of French health care workers are vaccinated, and polls suggest most people support the vaccine mandate for medical staff. The government health authority said Tuesday that means about 300,000 health workers remained unvaccinated.

“It’s aimed at one thing: protecting hospitals, protecting health care workers, protecting our fragile populations,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Wednesday. “We are not stigmatizing anyone. We are making everyone take responsibility.”

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