Covid-19 in France

France considering mandatory Covid vaccination for health workers in care homes

Professionals who work with the elderly in France are being asked to vaccinate themselves against Covid-19. (Illustration)
Professionals who work with the elderly in France are being asked to vaccinate themselves against Covid-19. (Illustration) AFP PHOTO / JEFF PACHOUD

Covid vaccinations could become compulsory for health workers if they do not drop their resistance to getting the jab, France's health minister has warned. The vaccination rate among health workers in care homes is lagging behind that of the general adult population.

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The threat came on the first day on which people in France were authorised to be outdoors without wearing face masks, as vaccinations pick up and new Covid cases drop. Sixty percent of French adults have now received at least one Covid jab.

Health Minister Olivier Véran made a "solemn appeal" to health workers, especially in care homes, to "take the plunge."

"If by the end of the summer there is no improvement we will have to consider making vaccinations for those specific groups obligatory," Véran told BFM television on Thursday.

"It is necessary and ethical to get vaccinated when you are in contact with vulnerable populations," he added.

Hospital staff not concerned, for now

The coronavirus has affected elderly people in care homes particularly severely, especially during the first and second virus waves last year before vaccinations became widespread and social distancing the norm.

Véran would not be drawn on a possible similar move for hospital staff, saying that "we'll wait and see".

New daily virus infections in France, at just over 3,000 on Wednesday, are projected to fall to 2,000 within a week and to 1,000 by the end of the month,Véran said.

A daily 11pm curfew will be lifted on Sunday, two weeks ahead of schedule.

Although people can now remove masks when outdoors, there are exceptions including when on busy shopping streets or at crowded events. Masks must still be worn indoors and on public transport.

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