From Tuesday, in Italy, unvaccinated caregivers can return to work. In France, one of the few countries where unvaccinated caregivers have not been reinstated, we are not there yet. Questioned by the press this Wednesday, Olivier Véran conditioned any development in this sector to the opinion of the High Authority for Health. Contacted by CheckNewsHAS confirms that it has not received any new referrals on this matter from the government and that no work in this direction was on the agenda.
The latest related notice “maintain the vaccination obligation for personnel working in health and medical-social institutions” was presented on July 22. Seized by the Ministry of Health, the HAS had established it “In the context of a seventh wave, given the effectiveness of vaccines and the uncertainties about the continuation of the epidemic”, “the data are not such as to call this vaccination obligation into question today” for people with “Frequent and close contacts with vulnerable people”.
Suspended without salary
From 15 September 2021, nursing and non-nursing staff working in hospitals or accommodation facilities for non self-sufficient elderly people (Ehpad) are subject to the obligation to vaccinate against Covid-19. In case of refusal, they are suspended, without compensation.
In its opinion of 22 July, the HAS highlighted the availability of vaccines in particular “Safe and effective against the omicron variant after a first booster dose”, not only “Against severe forms”, but also “against infection”. “The protection of the vaccine is between 45% and 55% against symptomatic infections and about 80% against severe forms in the three months following its injection. Vaccine protection remains at high levels against severe forms (between 52 and 78% for up to six months; protection erodes more rapidly in the over 80s). However, the HAS explains, the protection – even partial – against infections participates “To limit the spread of the epidemic”.
“The data are not such as to call into question the obligation to vaccinate”
“Given the dynamic context of the epidemic, the uncertainties about the evolution of the epidemic in the coming months and the effectiveness of a comprehensive vaccination program in reducing the risk of being infected and transmitting the diseaseconcludes the HAS, the data are not such as to call into question the obligation to vaccinate staff in the health and medical-social sectors, which contributes to better protection of the people treated or accompanied, above all the most vulnerable.
According to a survey conducted at the level of regional health agencies cited by the Ministry of Health in early July, About 12,000 people working in care facilities remained suspended (this figure includes, as specified by the ministry, technical and administrative professionals). A survey conducted between April and May by the French hospital federation he estimates that the number of professionals is suspended “had been divided by 4 between 15 September 2021 (implementation of the vaccination obligation) and spring 2022” and did not represent “Over 0.3% of the total personnel of the structures, or from 4,000 to 5,000 professionals of all professions, caregivers and not, out of 1.2 million employees in the public hospital service”.
“Climate of trust and cohesion”
In mid-July, the Academy of Medicine had also expressed its opinion “firm opposition” the reintegration of unvaccinated staff. He explained that if “Any refusal to be vaccinated motivated by personal convictions is respectable”this was “incompatible with the profession of caregiver”. “The reintegration of unvaccinated health professionals into the health team would compromise the climate of trust and cohesion that must exist among its members and with patients. It would endanger fragile patients. Affecting only a very limited number of health workers, it would not solve the hospital’s current operating difficulties.
France and Greece remain the last European countries whose nursing staff suspended due to lack of vaccination have not yet been reinstated in hospitals. In Greece, the reintegration of administrative staff seems to have been acquired by the end of 2022. The Ministry of Health however said that this process “It was not mainly about doctors and nurses”.