France’s Health Minister Oliver Véran has warned health workers that if they do not drop their hesitation about getting the jab, Covid vaccinations could become mandatory.
Véran made the threat to health workers, especially those working care homes, after the vaccination rate amongst this group is incredibly low compared to the rest of the adult general population. Véran told BFM television on Thursday: “If by the end of the summer there is no improvement, we will have to consider making vaccinations for those specific groups obligatory.
“It is necessary and ethical to get vaccinated when you are in contact with vulnerable populations.” The warning came on the first day in France where the public was permitted to be outdoors without wearing face masks, as the country has faced some of the toughest Covid restrictions.
Currently, France have an 11m curfew which is set to be lifted on Sunday, two weeks ahead of schedule. Whilst people are able to remove masks whilst being outdoors, there are exceptions including being at crowded events or in busy shopping areas. Face coverings must still be worn indoors and on public transport.
When asked about whether mandatory vaccinations would be considered for hospital staff, Véran responded by saying “we’ll wait and see.”
In the UK, the Covid vaccine is set to become mandatory for care home workers, however, the government announced earlier this month that they are considering extending this measure to encompass all NHS staff. Under the proposed plans, those working in care homes will have 16 weeks to get vaccinated or face losing their jobs.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said that the arguments in favour of protecting patients from potentially infectious staff outweigh those that allow health workers the right to choose whether they get vaccinated.