Paris: Thousands of health workers across France have been suspended without pay for failing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of a deadline this week, Health Minister Olivier Veran said Thursday.
“Some 3,000 suspensions were notified yesterday to employees at health centres and clinics who have not yet been vaccinated,” Veran told RTL radio.
He added that “several dozens” had turned in their resignations rather than sign up for the jabs.
That compares with 2.7 million health workers overall, Veran said, adding that “continued healthcare is assured”.
President Emmanuel Macron gave staff at hospitals, retirement home workers and the fire service an ultimatum in July to get at least one shot by September 15 or face unpaid suspension.
Many nurses in particular have been reluctant to get vaccinated, citing safety or efficacy concerns, posing the risk that France’s inoculation drive could stall.
France’s national public health agency estimated last week that roughly 12 per cent of hospital staff and around six per cent of doctors in private practices have yet to be vaccinated.
Overall, 70 per cent of the French have received both doses required to be fully vaccinated, which are available to everyone over age 12 - one of the highest rates in the world.
But 74 per cent have had one dose only, suggesting that many people are holding out against the jabs despite their widespread availability.