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France Suspends Thousands of Unvaccinated Health Workers

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France has suspended thousands of unvaccinated health care workers. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

France has suspended thousands of hospital, care home and health center workers after they refused to meet the country’s rules requiring COVID-19 vaccinations.

Oliver Veran, the Health Minister of France, told French radio that the suspended workers would be unpaid, and that “Some 3,000 suspensions were notified yesterday to employees at health centers and clinics who have not yet been vaccinated.”

One hospital in Nice accounts for almost 450 of those health care workers, regional newspaper Nice Matin reports. Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris said on Thursday that 340 of its workers had also failed to meet the requirements. Le Monde published that there were “100 suspensions in Perpignan, 76 suspensions at the Brest University Hospital, 54 in hospitals in Champagne-Sud (Troyes), 40 in Cahors, 37 in Saint-Nazaire, 26 in Angers, 40 in Rouen, 30 in Pau and Alès, and 20 in Angoulême.”

Healthcare workers in Greece suspended until vaccinated

The suspensions in France closely follow sweeping suspensions that occurred in Greece for health workers who were not fully vaccinated. Health workers were implicated by a law that mandated them to be fully vaccinated by September 1st, and those that were not were immediately suspended.

Hundreds of suspended workers protested the Greek state after 6,000 healthcare professionals were suspended following a law put in place by Prime Minister Mitsotakis. The law, which was announced in July, mandates all medical workers be fully vaccinated by September 1st, or face suspension. Although the PM gave unvaccinated workers a two-month period to get their shots, some refused to be inoculated against COVID-19.

The unvaccinated workers submitted an application to block yesterday’s suspension, but they were firmly rejected by the Suspension Commission of the Council of the State, Greece’s top administrative court.

The suspensions that then took place sparked furor from health workers, who took to the streets in droves to express their anger with the law. The Greek government has responded by giving these workers another chance to get their vaccinations and return to work; however, although they are willing to work with the angered protestors, they will not allow unvaccinated individuals to return to healthcare settings.

The Greek government thus introduced an amendment to the law that the workers may get back to work as long as they receive their first dose of the vaccine in the next few days, and follow through on their second shot afterward.

“Mandatory vaccination for the workers of the NHS (National Health System) was legislated to help safeguarding public health,” Health Minister Thanos Plevris commented on Thursday. “Since we do not intend to punish (people), we will introduce an amendment.”

The United States has also recently passed a new mandate that will require roughly 17 million people who work at health facilities which receive reimbursement from federal Medicare or Medicaid be fully vaccinated.

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