Around 3,000 health workers in France have been suspended for failing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of a deadline this week to have at least one jab.
It comes as care workers in England must get their first vaccine dose by today and be double jabbed by 11 November to keep their jobs.
Countries around Europe are weighing up how far to go to combat the COVID pandemic.
On Wednesday, the French government made vaccinations mandatory for all health workers and care home staff, but a top court has ruled staff cannot be sacked outright.
French health minister Olivier Veran said the suspensions were being brought in temporarily to show citizens that the “vaccination mandate is a reality”.
Image: Demonstrators hold up banners during protests in Saint-Etienne against mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for certain workers. Pic: AP
He told RTL radio: “It hasn’t been chaos, far from it.
“Most of the suspensions are only temporary, many have decided to get vaccinated as they see that the vaccination mandate is a reality.”
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He added that “several dozens” had resigned rather than sign up for the jabs.
However, the government’s move has sparked a backlash from unions, who fear the care sector could be plunged into crisis by a loss of workers.
Emmanuel Chignon, a care home manager in Bordeaux, warned it was already difficult to hire staff in the sector.
He said: “If we can’t replace the carers who leave, the work will fall on the others, and I fear an unvirtuous circle, with tiredness, exhaustion and an increase in absenteeism.”
According to reports in Nice, nearly 450 health workers were suspended in a hospital in the southern city.
Other countries around Europe are said to be also considering penalties for workers who fail to get jabbed ahead of the winter period looming.
Image: Care workers in England must get their first COVID vaccine dose by today and be double jabbed by 11 November to keep their jobs
The Italian government is reportedly going to bring in a new “Green Pass” scheme, which will involve all public and private sector workers being required to show either proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from infection.
If they do not have a Green Pass, they will be suspended and lose their pay, but cannot be sacked, according to a draft of the decree seen by the Reuters news agency.
People who ignore the decree and go to work regardless will face a fine of between €600 and €1,500.
While some EU countries have ordered their health workers to get vaccines, none have made the Green Pass mandatory for all employees, making Italy a test case for the continent.
The Dutch government has said it will introduce a “corona” pass showing proof of vaccination to go to bars, restaurants, clubs or cultural events.
Source : Sky News