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About 3,000 health workers have been suspended without pay in France for not taking the Covid vaccine.
Health minister, Olivier Véran, said the authorities had written to the staff explaining that they needed at least one dose by 15 September. He said that several dozen workers had resigned rather than have the vaccine.
Santé Publique, the French health authority, believes that less than 12% of hospital staff and about 6% of doctors in private practice have not yet been vaccinated.
President Emmanuel Macron in July told staff in hospitals, retirement and care homes as well as those in the fire service they had until Wednesday this week to be partially or fully vaccinated.
Véran told RTL radio: “A large number of these suspensions will be temporary. They involved mostly personnel in support service, like those working in laundry or food preparation.” He said very few nurses had not had the vaccine.
“Many of them have decided to get vaccinated now the obligation to do so has become a reality,” he added.
Véran said he was satisfied that making the vaccine obligatory for certain French workers had succeeded. “It’s just the first day but there was no chaos, far from it, and the numbers of those who are vaccinated in hospitals and care homes is far, far higher than it would have been if the vaccine had not been made obligatory.”
He said most of the medical staff federations and orders had been consulted and had approved making the vaccine compulsory for health workers.
The country's ambulance service, however, was said to be particularly stretched at the moment because, according to Thierry Schifano, the president of the Fédération Nationale de la Mobilité Sanitaire, 13% of ambulance and health vehicle drivers were not vac