France : Emmanuel Macron mandates all health workers to get vaccinated
All health care workers in France must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by September or risk not being paid, the government has announced. The requirement applies to doctors, nurses, office staff and volunteers. President Emmanuel Macron has also said that from next month, health passes will need to be shown to access places like shops, bars, cinemas and long-distance train journeys in France.
But a slowdown in vaccination rates and a sharp upturn in new infections due to the now-dominant Delta variant have forced a government rethink for health workers, who must now get vaccinated by Sept. 15. PCR tests will no longer be free of charge from the autumn, unless they are obtained with a prescription, Macron said. It is hoped the measure will drive up vaccination rates by encouraging people to get the vaccine rather than just repeated Covid-19 tests.
France has an entrenched anti-vaccination movement but authorities had so far believed they could curb the spread of the coronavirus by convincing enough people, including medical staff, to get inoculated voluntarily.
The delta variant is driving France’s virus infections back up again, just as the country kicked off summer vacation season after a long-awaited reopening. Some 40% of France’s population is fully inoculated.
Greece announced Monday that health care workers will be suspended if they refuse to get vaccinated. Italy made the coronavirus vaccination obligatory for health care workers and pharmacists, and those who opt out risk suspension from their jobs or a salary cut.
In Denmark, restaurants and public events require a digital pass showing you’ve been fully vaccinated or have a recent negative test. Some German states require the same for restaurants, though suggestions of making vaccines obligatory have prompted widespread unease.