As the vaccine mandate went into effect nationwide, France suspended 3,000 healthcare workers for failing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the health minister said on Thursday.
“Yesterday, some 3,000 suspensions were served on staff in health and social care facilities who had not yet entered into a vaccination course,” Olivier Veran told RTL radio.
“Several dozen” had also tendered their resignations in light of the mandatory need to be vaccinated, he added.
The ruling affects approximately 2.7 million people in the healthcare professions throughout France.
The mandate was first announced by President Emmanuel Macron in a televised address on July 12, with the deadline set for Sept. 15 for all nurses, doctors, private caregivers, and those in care homes, firefighters, paramedics, emergency personnel, and some gendarmes to get vaccinated.
Healthcare professionals are compelled with the new mandate to present a complete vaccination schedule against COVID-19 – proof of receipt of the first dose of vaccination and a negative screening test conducted in the last 72 hours.
The Health Ministry estimates that 12% of hospital staff and 6% of doctors in private practice have yet to be vaccinated. Over 88% of caregivers in hospitals and care homes are said to have received at least one shot, with the possibility of at least 94% in some areas.
A mandatory health pass – proof of vaccination or a negative test – first went into effect on Aug. 9 and saw significant numbers of people visit pharmacies and vaccination centers for the shot.
The pass is obligatory for entry into all public venues including restaurants, bars, cafes, movie theaters, and concert halls, but has itself been the subject of controversy, giving rise to demonstrations each Saturday across France over the past eight weeks.
At least 42.9 million people, or 63.9% of the French population is fully vaccinated. Nearly 7 million COVID-19 cases and 115,829 related deaths have been confirmed.