France to Make COVID-19 Shot Mandatory for Health Workers: BFM TV

By Reuters Staff

July 13, 2021

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government is set to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for health workers, BFM TV reported on Monday ahead of a televised speech to the nation by President Emmanuel Macron.

France has an entrenched anti-vaccination movement but authorities had so far banked on convincing enough people, including medical staff, to voluntarily get inoculated and curb the spread of the virus.

However, a slowdown in vaccination rates and a sharp upturn in new infections due to the now-dominant Delta variant have forced a government rethink for health workers. Vaccination would remain voluntary for the general public.

BFM TV also reported Macron would say a health pass required to attend large scale events or to go clubbing will now be required for some other events or venues, giving further incentive for people to get the shot. It did not say what this would apply to.

The health pass provides proof that a person has either been vaccinated against the coronavirus or holds a recent negative PCR test.

There was no immediate official confirmation ahead of Macron's speech. Macron is due to speak at 8pm local time (1800 GMT).

France has gone from an average of more than 400,000 first injections per day at the end of May to about 165,000 per day now.

Mandatory vaccination, even restricted only to health care workers and other professionals who come into contact with people vulnerable to COVID-19, is not widespread in Europe, and Macron had previously ruled it out for France.

Italy, which has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic and made the shots mandatory for healthcare workers at the end of March, had so far been the exception. Some in Italy are fighting the measure in court, but most complied. Greece made a similar announcement on Monday.

As worries over the Delta variant grow across the continent, other nations have decided to reintroduce restrictions.

The Dutch government reimposed curbs on nightclubs, music festivals and restaurants on Friday while Spain's Canary Islands have asked the government to bring back curfews.

After falling from more than 42,000 per day mid-April to less than 2,000 per day in late June, the average number of new infections per day in France has crept back up again since late June, standing now at nearly 4,000 per day.

If no measures were taken and the same trend continued, France could see up to 20,000 new cases per day by the end of July, epidemiologists say.