In France, Unvaxxed Healthcare Workers Suspended Without Pay
Thousands of healthcare workers in France were suspended without pay this week when they failed to meet a vaccination deadline. Dozens of workers decided to resign rather than obey vaccine rules, adding to an employee shortage that has forced some hospitals to postpone non-urgent surgeries.
“Some 3,000 suspensions were notified yesterday at health centers and clinics who have not yet been vaccinated,” announced French Health Minister Olivier Véran, who added that anyone coming into contact with “fragile” or “elderly” people must be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Based on reports from individual hospitals, the actual number of suspended employees could be much higher.
“We will go as far as we are able to go,” vowed Thierry Paysant, a fire safety officer who works for the public hospital system in Nice, France. Paysant started a hunger strike this week after a single hospital in Nice was forced to suspend 450 employees. “It’s hard to swallow…It was imposed in a violent way.”
The vaccination deadline was announced this summer as part of a controversial law championed by French President Emmanuel Macron. The law requires all healthcare workers, care home staff, and firefighters to begin the vaccination process by September 15th and complete it by October 16th as a condition for working.
The law also forced French residents to present a COVID “health pass” when dining out, shopping, using public transportation, and visiting large venues. Beginning September 30th, these requirements will apply to individuals as young as 12 years old.
Author’s Note: President Macron introduced strict policies this summer to combat a rise in vaccine hesitancy among his people. While his methods worked – up to 90% of French adults have received at least one shot – they also exacerbated civil unrest and prompted demonstrations involving up to 200,000 people.