File photo Photograph:( AFP )
President Emmanuel Macron gave staff at hospitals, retirement home workers and the fire service an ultimatum in July to get at least one shot by September 15 or face unpaid suspension.
Thousands of health professionals have been suspended without pay across France for failing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before a deadline this week, according to Health Minister Olivier Veran.
Last week, France's national public health ministry estimated that about 12% of hospital employees and 6% of private practise doctors had not yet been vaccinated.
"Some 3,000 suspensions were notified yesterday to employees at health centres and clinics who have not yet been vaccinated," Veran said.
In France, vaccinations are now required for medical, home care, and emergency professionals, and the deadline for receiving at least one shot was Wednesday.
If that fails, they risk having their salary suspended or being unable to work. However, a high court has ruled that employees cannot be sacked outright.
The mandate was authorised by the French parliament last summer to safeguard patients and the general public from further COVID-19 outbreaks.
In France, more than 113,000 people have died from the virus, with health officials claiming that the majority of those hospitalised during the most recent outbreak were not vaccinated.
Overall, 70 per cent of the French have received both doses required to be fully vaccinated, which are available to everyone over age 12 -- one of the highest rates in the world.
On Wednesday, the health ministry reported 79 Covid deaths over the previous 24 hours, bringing the French total to 115,829.
(With inputs from agencies)