France considers compulsory Covid jabs for health workers

France considers compulsory Covid jabs for health workers
A youth receives a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech against Covid-19 on June 29, 2021 at an outdoor vaccination centre. Photo: MARTIN BUREAU / AFP)
The Haute Autorite de la Sante (HAS) wants mandatory Covid vaccination for health workers in France - and has also raised the possibility of compulsory vaccination for all over-12s.

The compulsory vaccinations should come into force immediately for all health workers and any professionals who may come into regular contact with people who are vulnerable to Covid-19, the advisory board said in a statement.

“While the number of new cases and the pressure on the hospital system remain relatively low, the dynamic of the epidemic in France is significant and could quickly lead to a deterioration in the health situation,” HAS explained. 

Throughout the Covid pandemic, the French government has regularly taken the advice of HAS, which also directed them to use mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer/BioNTech and Modern in the fight against the highly infectious Delta variant.

According to health experts, the mRNA vaccines have been shown to offer more protection against severe courses of a Delta infection than other shots.

READ ALSO: French scientists warn high Covid-19 vaccine rate needed to stop Delta

President Macron is due to give a speech on Monday in which he is expected to set out the government’s strategy for dealing with a potential fourth wave of Covid and the spike in infections caused by Delta.

The government is said to be considering mandatory vaccination for health workers as one of a number of potential measures to lessen the impact of the superinfectious variant in France. 

Compulsory jabs for over-12s?

In addition to mandatory vaccination for health works, HAS has also advised the government to consider the possibility of introducing mandatory Covid shots for all over-12s. 

Investigating that option now would mean that the government would be ready to introduce the new measures if the situation called for it, they explained.

“As recent modelling work by the Institut Pasteur shows, unvaccinated people contribute disproportionately to transmission: an unvaccinated person is 12 times more likely to transmit SARS-CoV-2 than a vaccinated person,” the board said in a statement.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: What lies behind the slowing of vaccination rates in France?

“To limit the intensity of the new wave due to the circulation of this variant, there is only one solution: to vaccinate as much and as quickly as possible.”

The body also recommended reducing the interval between the first and second dose of the vaccine to the minimum possible to ensure that as many people were fully vaccination in the coming weeks as possible. 

On Saturday, France’s National Medicine Academy also called on the government to introduce mandatory Covid vaccination for everyone over the age of 12. 

In recent days, the 7-day incidence of new infections per 100,000 people has been shooting up by around 50 percent per day in France. This is similar to the pattern of infections in the earlier Covid waves. 


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