Emmanuel Macron announced it two months ago. The vaccine obligation against Covid-19 for healthcare workers comes into force on Wednesday in France. Professionals in hospitals and retirement homes but also home helpers or firefighters may be suspended, without remuneration, if they have not received at least one dose of vaccine.
The vaccine obligation against Covid-19 came into force on Wednesday, September 15, for 2.7 million professionals: hospitals, retirement homes, liberal caregivers, home helpers, firefighters, ambulance drivers, but a small minority did not still not received a first dose.
The ultimatum has expired. Two months after its announcement by Emmanuel Macron, the vaccination obligation applies to the entire healthcare system, in the broad sense.
Offenders are warned: those who can not justify a first injection, a vaccine contraindication or recent contamination “can no longer exercise their activity”, according to the law of August 5.
For the employees concerned, this should result in the immediate suspension of the employment contract, without remuneration – unless days of leave are used to delay the deadline.
How many will they be in this case? Thousands no doubt, even if the estimates vary from simple to tenfold depending on the source. According to Public Health France (SpF), which is based on samples from Health Insurance, 89.3% of caregivers had received, as of September 12, at least one dose in structures welcoming dependent elderly people (Ehpad, USLD).
“There will perhaps be 1% to 2% of suspensions”, nevertheless estimates Florence Arnaiz-Maumé, general secretary of Synerpa, which represents private nursing homes. Compared to the “300,000 to 350,000 employees” in the sector, “we can expect around 3,000 suspended work contracts in the coming days,” she predicts.
In health establishments, where SpF counted 88% of first-time vaccinated on September 7, “we know that we will be somewhere between 1% and 2% of people not at all vaccinated”, forecasts the director of Public Assistance -Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP), Martin Hirsch.
Out of a million public hospital staff, “we will obviously find a few hundred or a few thousand refractories”, comments the president of the French Hospital Federation (FHF), Frédéric Valletoux, convinced that “some will use specific cases to make believe that they are whole battalions “.
“It’s gonna be a mess”
However, they were not legion to respond to the call of the CGT on Tuesday. A few hundred people hardly gathered in front of the Ministry of Health, the headquarters of regional health agencies (ARS) or their hospitals.
A last stand for the union, convinced like its general secretary Philippe Martinez that “it will be a mess”, because in these sectors in tension “even with 5% less staff, things no longer work”.
Already, the hospital of Montélimar must resolve to “deprogramming of non-urgent interventions”, because of “the absence of three anesthetists working in the block”, and will “reduce the wing” in another department where ” three allergists will also be absent “, all in opposition to the vaccination obligation, indicates its deputy director, Philippe Charre.
Fearing other “unmanageable situations”, with sanctions resulting in “closures of beds and services”, FO-Santé demanded “additional time”, as for the overseas departments hit hard by the fourth epidemic wave .
“We’re going to have the hardest position possible”
A request swept away by the government, satisfied with the “very positive effects” of its threat. “We will not back down,” warned Prime Minister Jean Castex.
And beware of those who would like to circumvent the rule. “The refusal to be vaccinated will not give rise to any sick leave”, warned the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, promising “systematic checks” for “any prescription deemed suspicious”.
The administration is in tune: “We are going to have the toughest position possible”, says the director of ARS Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Benoît Elleboode, a supporter of “zero tolerance”, who plans to “start very quickly” “surprise checks” in establishments and among the Liberals.
“We hope that those who still hesitate will be convinced by the firmness displayed”, explains her counterpart in Ile-de-France, Amélie Verdier, who does not want “to let patients have any doubts” about the continuity of care.
This is why the ARS Île-de-France “identifies establishments where there might be difficulties in order to be able to help them”, by mobilizing “reinforcements” if necessary.
Aid that will have to be long-term: from October 15, a “complete vaccination schedule” will be required to meet the legal obligation, which no date limit in time.