France and Greece have both announced plans to mandate coronavirus vaccinations for health-care workers as the more virulent delta variant gains ground across Europe, threatening even those nations with high or climbing inoculation rates.
French President Emmanuel Macron said that Covid-19 vaccination will be mandatory for health workers as part of new efforts to contain the spread of the more infectious Delta variant.
Warning about a strong resurgence of the pandemic, Macron on Monday pointed to the necessity "to go towards vaccination of all French people" as "it is the only way towards a normal life", reports Xinhua news agency
In a televised address, he announced that "vaccination will be compulsory for all those in contact with fragile people". Healthcare workers and nursing home staff will need to get inoculated by September 15 or risk sanctions.
In Greece, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also said Monday that health-care workers must be immunized starting Sept. 1, and that nursing staff will be required to begin receiving vaccinations immediately.
On Tuesday, Greek authorities said that only fully vaccinated individuals would be allowed to use public indoor spaces until Aug. 31, when the policy would be reassessed.
In June, France administered an average of 167,524 vaccines per day, sharply down from the 450,000 doses administered daily in May, according to the Public Health Agency.
The vaccination rate remains alarmingly low among medical staff and care workers. Less than 60 per cent of nursing home workers and less than 64 per cent of hospital workers have been vaccinated.
Till date, some 35.79 million people, or 53.1 per cent of France's adult population, have received one Covid-19 vaccine dose, and 27.38 million, or 40.6 per cent, have received both doses.
The French government aims to have 35 million people fully vaccinated by the end of August.
Both Macron and Mitsotakis announced Monday new virus curbs that would require proof of vaccination to take part in activities such as indoor dining, entering shopping malls and cinemas, and traveling on planes and trains.
In remarks Monday, Tedros, the World Health Organization director general, said the delta variant is “ripping around the world at a scorching pace.”