COVID-19 vaccination for health workers no longer mandatory, but favoured, France’s health body says

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FILE PHOTO: A medical worker prepares a dose of the “Comirnaty” Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination center in Nice, France, December 1, 2021. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s public health authority Haute Autorite de Sante (HAS)on Thursday eased its vaccination guidance for professionals in the health sector, saying the shot was no longer mandatory, but still strongly recommended, in light of recent epidemiological data.

“This recommendation to lift the obligation to vaccinate against Covid-19 does not in any way call into question its previous … recommendations which were made in different healthcare-related and epidemiological contexts”, the HAS said in a statement. The government usually follows the body’s recommendations.

France’s decision at the height of the pandemic to suspend the work contracts of doctors, nurses and other health workers who refused to take a COVID-19 vaccination, was highly controversial.

The government had argued the move was necessary to keep hospitals safe, while unions said it further reduced available workforce in France’s chronically under-staffed health sector.

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