Jul 13, 2021 - World

France orders all health workers to get COVID vaccine

Emmanuel Macron.
Photo: STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / POOL / AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday ordered all French health care workers to get fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Sept.15, amid a rise of new infections, driven largely by the Delta variant, AP reports.

The big picture: Macron also mandated special COVID-19 passes for anyone wanting to go to restaurants, shopping malls or hospitals or intending to travel via trains or planes.

  • The passes are only available to people who are fully vaccinated, have a recent negative virus test or who have recently recovered from COVID-19, per AP.

By the numbers: About 40% of country's population is fully vaccinated.

  • France has recorded more than 5.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 111,540 deaths since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

What he's saying: “The country is facing a strong resumption of the epidemic touching all our territory,” Macron said in a televised address, per AP.

  • “The equation is simple. The more we vaccinate, the less space we leave this virus to circulate," he added.
  • “You’ve understood — vaccination is not immediately obligatory for everyone, but we’re going to extend the health pass to the maximum, in order to push a maximum of you to go and get vaccinated."
  • Macron said he would declare another medical state of emergency, which will give authorities more freedom to impose restrictions starting Tuesday.

Of note: "In a first sign that the new set of measures might be convincing more to get vaccinated, Doctolib, the website where many go to book their COVID jab, was swamped after Macron's speech," Reuters writes.

France's directive for health care workers follows similar moves by other European countries, AP notes.

  • Earlier Monday, Greece said health care workers who refuse to get vaccinated will be suspended.
  • Italy also requires health workers and pharmacists get the COVID vaccine or face suspension or a salary cut, according to AP.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, however, said last week that England will lift mask requirements and social distancing rules later this month amid rising coronavirus cases.
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