France’s president announced Monday that COVID-19 vaccination will be mandatory for the country’s frontline health workers and nursing staff while alluding to the extension of compulsory jabs for the general public if collective immunity is not achieved in the coming weeks.

In a nationally televised address, Emmanuel Macron confirmed compulsory vaccination by Sept. 15 for nursing and non-nursing staff at hospitals, clinics, care homes for the elderly, institutions for people with disabilities and all those professionals or volunteers who are in contact with vulnerable people and those with comorbidities. 

Unvaccinated caregivers will face sanctions including loss of work and no pay, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said in an interview with BFMTV. A significant number of healthline workers are resisting vaccination due to hesitancy.

The Macron administration will soon introduce a bill in parliament on mandatory vaccination and sanctions.

On Monday, France registered 1,260 positive cases and 28 deaths, according to the latest health data. Until now, 35,550,645 people or 53.06% of the adult French population has received at least one shot and 40.06% are fully vaccinated. 

Macron warned that if this figure does not increase enough, it will be prudent to ask the question of compulsory vaccination, especially at a time when France, like other parts of the world, is facing a strong resumption of the pandemic due to the Delta variant of the virus, which is three times more contagious than the first strain. France will also reinforce border controls from this week for nationals arriving from countries at risk due to the spread of the Delta variant in Europe.  

“We must move towards the vaccination of all, because it is the only way to return to normal life at first,” he added. ​​​​​​​

From October, the facility of free PCR tests will come to an end and be made payable, except for medical prescription, in order to encourage vaccination, he said.

Macron also announced the application of a government-mandated health pass from July 21 for all events and places of more than 50 people, including on trains, planes and in restaurants. The pass, which provides details of negative PCR/antigen tests and vaccination, will be valid for children as young as 12 years old for entry in places like amusement parks.

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