The big day, so decried by some, has arrived. As of this Wednesday, nursing staff in hospitals, retirement homes, liberal caregivers, home helpers, firefighters, paramedics must have received at least one dose of vaccine against the coronavirus. 2.7 million professionals are affected by this measure. Those resistant to vaccination are exposed to unpaid job suspensions, which may lead to fear of a lack of personnel in certain establishments or regions. After several events and testimonies from caregivers who are refractory to this obligation, what is the situation today with regard to the vaccination coverage of these professionals?
What obligations are nursing staff subject to?
Voted in Parliament on July 25 and validated by the Constitutional Council on August 5, the law indicates that health professionals will have to justify at least one dose of vaccine from this Wednesday and will then have until October 15 to obtain a complete vaccination schedule.
On September 1, France Inter reported that the Ministry of Health was counting nationally on 90% of staff in hospitals and nursing homes who will have received at least a first dose by September 15.
How many caregivers are not vaccinated to date?
Difficult to have an identical figure, according to the sources. According to the weekly update of September 9 from Public Health France, which is based on samples from Health Insurance, 84.1% of nursing staff employed in health establishments have a complete vaccination. This figure climbs to 91.1% among liberal professionals. According to the Minister of Transformation and the Public Service, Amélie de Montchalin, interviewed Monday on Sud Radio, “95-96%” of public officials in hospitals were vaccinated. Still according to her, « 3-4% remaining “intend to be vaccinated and” there may be 1% of workers in hospitals who do not wish to be vaccinated “. Martin Hirsch, director of Public Assistance-Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP), estimates him “between 1% and 2%” people “not at all vaccinated”.
Same prognosis for Florence Arnaiz-Maumé, general secretary of Synerpa, union of private establishments and residences and home help services for the elderly. According to Public Health France, 83.9% of professionals in nursing homes or USLDs had a complete vaccination on September 9 and 89.3% had received at least one dose.
According to the latest estimates from the Interior Ministry on Friday, 85% of firefighters met the vaccination requirement. However, the ministry noted national disparities with, for example, more than 95% of the numbers vaccinated in Paris and in the inner suburbs, against 68% in the North, according to the SDIS 59.
Given the wide vaccination coverage of health workers, were suspensions of unvaccinated people necessary?
For epidemiologist Fabienne El-Khoury, doctor of public health, researcher at the ERES, the choice not to take risks with patients is justifiable. “The problem with the Delta variant is that herd immunity is not effective enough. Vaccinated people can transmit the virus, although there is less chance than when they are not vaccinated, explains the expert. Patients are vulnerable by definition and hospitals cannot risk nosocomial covid clusters (i.e. infections acquired during a stay in a healthcare facility) due to unvaccinated staff. “