Covid vaccine (representational image). Photograph:( Twitter )
In France, according to data shared by the French Hospital Federation, only 57 per cent of nursing home staff and 64 per cent of hospital staff have gotten a dose of the Covid vaccine so far
French lawmakers have prepared a new law that would force healthcare workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, despite President Emmanuel Macron's earlier announcements that vaccination would not be made compulsory.
The development comes amid fears that vaccination rates among the country's medical professionals is low. In France, according to data shared by the French Hospital Federation, only 57 per cent of nursing home staff and 64 per cent of hospital staff have got a dose of the Covid vaccine so far.
According to the country's finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, France is not discussing mandatory vaccination for all. The country only wants to make vaccinations compulsory for healthcare professionals who are at risk due to their constant exposure to Covid patients.
Olivier Véran, the country's health minister, has also expressed support for the plan. It was also supported by the French Hospital Federation that compulsory vaccinations for the sector be implemented.
Previously UK and Italy had also made vaccines mandatory for health care workers. Health care providers in Italy were mandated to receive vaccinations in April. While the UK announced in June, that care home staff would also be required to receive the Covid vaccine.
In France, vaccine scepticism is higher than anywhere else in Europe, which makes the situation more challenging. Eurofound polled French citizens and found that almost 30 per cent said they were "very unlikely" to receive a Covid vaccine. In contrast, according to the same survey, around 64 per cent of Europeans responded positively to getting a shot.
Despite this, according to Our World in Data, 51 per cent of France's population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 shot, a ret that falls only marginally below the EU’s rate of vaccination, though it is 15 percentage points lower than the UK's rate.
With concern over new mutations of Covid and a surge in Delta variant infections, increasing vaccination has become even more important in recent weeks.
Earlier this week, the French government also warned of the likelihood of a fourth wave of cases in late July.
French GDP is currently projected to grow at around 5 per cent in 2021, so this could be yet another headache for the country.
France's finance minister also expressed concerns over the possible economic ramifications of the fourth wave, saying that it might jeopardise 'the economic recovery in France'.
In the last few weeks, France has also eased several covid restrictions, including the requirement to wear a face mask outdoors and late-night curfews.
President Emmanuel Macron is expected to talk on this topic in one of his upcoming speeches.