A decision that will undoubtedly ease tensions in the hospital world. This Thursday, the High Authority for Health (HAS) recommended lifting the obligation to vaccinate against Covid for nursing staff, considering however that it remains strongly recommended.
“This recommendation to lift the obligation to vaccinate against Covid in no way constitutes a questioning of its previous opinions and recommendations given in different health and epidemic contexts”, also recalled the health authority in its press release.
In the wake of this announcement, the Minister of Health François Braun told AFP that he “would follow the advice of this scientific authority”, adding that “a decree will be issued” to this end, after consultation with hospital federations and orders of health professions.
A measure imposed during the health crisis
The vaccination obligation for health professionals had been in force for 18 months for caregivers and other professionals concerned. It had been imposed in the midst of a health crisis on 2.7 million people: caregivers but also staff in hospitals and retirement homes, paramedics, home helpers and even firefighters.
Since September 2021, these professionals must attest to a complete vaccination schedule (two, then three doses), under penalty of being suspended, without remuneration.
Controversy within the hospital world
During the pandemic peak, this measure aroused controversy among many health practitioners. Those who had refused to be vaccinated against Covid had been suspended or even fired by their health establishments.
The controversy had even crossed the borders of the health sector, feeding the arguments of anti-vaccine demonstrators throughout mainland France and overseas.
A minority of refractory was still in this case mid-March of this year: “around 0.3% of agents” hospital according to the ministry, less than 2,000 among the liberals according to Health Insurance. Moreover, the question of their reintegration has become a political battle horse, in particular for La France insoumise and the National Rally.
Other Vaccine Bonds Studied
Beyond this sensitive file, the HAS has reviewed other compulsory vaccinations for caregivers. With contrasting conclusions. It thus suggests lifting the obligation concerning diphtheria, tetanus and poliomyelitis, except in Mayotte.
On the other hand, she advises to maintain that against hepatitis B and even to extend it to liberal caregivers “likely to be exposed to a risk of contamination”.