Thousands of healthcare workers across France have been suspended without pay for failing to get a required COVID-19 vaccine, according to a report on NPR.
"Some 3,000 suspensions were notified to employees at health centres and clinics who have not yet been vaccinated," Olivier Véran, the health minister, told France's RTL radio, according to a France 24 translation.
French regulations set a 15 September deadline for healthcare employees to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and show a negative coronavirus test as a condition for working, unless they have an exemption for health reasons or because they've recovered from COVID-19. By 16 October, they must show they are fully vaccinated.
Defending the decision to suspend those who did not meet the deadline, Véran said that "the continuity of care, the security of care and the quality of care were assured yesterday in all hospitals and health care facilities" in the country. Several dozen employees resigned rather than meet the vaccine requirement, he said.
France has about 2.7m health workers.
Véran said that most of the suspensions were mainly support staff and only "very few nurses." He said most of them were "temporary."
France's main health authority reported that by Sunday, nearly 90% of care workers in nursing homes for the elderly had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Euronews.
In recent months, France has seen mass demonstrations turning out thousands of protesters who oppose the government's vaccine policies — including a "health pass" system introduced by President Emmanuel Macron — which they believe violate the rights of people who refuse to be inoculated.
Macron's health pass, which was introduced July, require anyone wanting to enter a restaurant, mall, theatre or long-distance train to show proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test.
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