Around 3,000 French citizens employed in the medical and care sectors have been suspended from work for failing to get jabbed despite being given an ultimatum by the government.
This was revealed Thursday by France's Minister of Health, as per NTD.
President Emmanuel Macron reportedly issued an order two months ago requiring hospital personnel, paramedics, nursing facility personnel, physicians, fire fighters, and those who care for the elderly or chronically ill in their homes-a total of 2.6 million-to get the COVID-19 shot by September 15.
"Yesterday, some 3,000 suspensions were served on staff in health and social care facilities who had not yet entered into a vaccination course," said Olivier Veran, a spokesman for the French radio station RTL.
"Most of the suspensions are only temporary ... many of them have decided to get vaccinated as they see that the vaccination mandate is a reality," he said.
On Sept. 7, the French government stated that about 86 percent of workers in care homes and healthcare facilities had gotten two shots, indicating that approximately 300,000 care workers are unvaccinated.
Employees who do not comply could be fired or have their wages withheld, officials warned earlier this year. However, a top French court has ruled that employers cannot fire employees in the medical and care sectors.
Health workers who have gotten just one dose of a vaccination will be required to undergo a coronavirus test every three days until they get their second dose-both shots must be given by Oct. 15.
Businesses and employers that violate Macron's order will also face fines of up to $160 (135 euros), which may rise to $4,430 (3,750 euros) if penalized three times in a month, according to Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace. Additionally, six months in jail may be imposed as a penalty.
Several hospitals have already voiced worry about understaffing as a consequence of widespread layoffs. One is Emmanuel Chignon, who said he survived the worst of the coronavirus outbreak in western France, but now he faces a new crisis: employees who would rather leave than submit to a vaccine mandate.
"We feel like we're living through a third wave, but this time it's a human resources wave," Chignon reportedly said Tuesday at his nursing home in Bordeaux, southwest of Paris.
Incessant protests over vaccine mandates and passports
Anadolu Agency reports that for eight straight weeks, people opposed to the health pass - evidence of vaccination or a negative test - have protested every Saturday. Protests have erupted in major French cities, including Paris. This weekend is likely to see further protests.
Vanessa Perotti, a healthcare worker at "Hopital Beaujon" in Clichy, is also among those who chose not to be vaccinated and instead left the medical profession.
Thierry Paysant, a fire safety officer for the city of Nice's public hospital system, took a different tactic, pitching a tent in front of the monastery of Saint-Pons and erecting a banner saying "Hunger Strike" in bold print.
"We will go as far as we are able to go," Paysant remarked outside the abbey, where he'd also put up a camping fire.
He said that he was not opposed to vaccinations, but to people being pressured to obtain them or potentially lose their employment.
"It's hard to swallow. It was imposed in a violent way," he observed.
The Epoch Times reported on September 12 that protesters in France went to the streets for the 9th consecutive weekend to demonstrate against "COVID-19 vaccine passports and mandates."
According to France24, the French Ministry of the Interior stated that 120,000 people participated in countrywide protests.
Protesters were seen in huge numbers in Paris, Toulouse, and other towns, as captured on a video.
In early August, the ministry said that the number of protesters exceeded 230,000 across several French cities on one weekend. These demonstrations happened soon after the French Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Parliament's vaccine passport policy.
Protestors have also raged against all healthcare professionals' compulsory vaccinations.
While some media outlets have attempted to depict demonstrations as anti-vaccine, many protesters have claimed that they are not anti-vaccines, but rather anti-vaccine passports and vaccination mandates.
"This health pass divides French people. I think that is clear," public worker Sophie Soulas told Reuters during one Paris protest. "And unfortunately, I believe we should abolish it."
The vaccination passport, which the government refers to as a health pass, will be required for entry into a variety of public venues.