Reinstating unvaccinated healthcare workers: ‘I couldn’t hold back the tears’

The repeal of covid vaccination requirement for healthcare professionals voted in the French Parliament.

Ref:  LCP: https://twitter.com/lcp/status/1654080180988653570

The Gauche Démocratique et Républicaine group’s bill to repeal the covid-19 vaccination obligation in the medical sectors and to reinstate suspended professionals was adopted against the government’s advice on Thursday, May 4th,  2023, by 157 votes in favor and 137 votes against. Adopted at first reading, the text provides for the repeal of the anti-Covid vaccination obligation rather than the suspension defended by the government. At the same time the Minister of Health confirmed during the session that the suspended unvaccinated healthcare workers will be reinstated from 15 May on. 

This decision finally brings some relief to the suspended workers in France but the adoption procedure and the decision on compensation for the over-580-day suspensions is yet to be seen. 

The article below – originally published by Actu78 – shall bring joy to all. It reinforces that no matter how enormous the barricading rocks are the spring of truth and justice will always find its way.

On May 4th, 2023, deputies voted to repeal the covid vaccination requirement for health care professionals. One of them, the Yvelinoise Sonia Hamdouchy (from the Yvelines County near Paris), was there.

Great Joy for the deputy Jean-Victor Castor and healthcare worker Sonia Hamdouchy this May 4, 2023 at the National Assembly (Paris). (©Collectif Blouses blanches pour les libertés fondamentales)

A first step taken to get out of an unprecedented and inhumane episode in a country of equality.”

This is how Sonia Hamdouchy, founder of the association Collectif Blouses Blanches for fundamental freedoms based in Les Mureaux (Yvelines – France), describes the vote of the National Assembly on Thursday, May 4th 2023, opening the door to the repeal of the obligation for healthcare workers to be vaccinated against Covid 19.

She was part of the delegation of 19 suspended staff invited to attend the legislative session.

“It was beautiful to see the MPs standing up for our suffering, our experiences, denouncing the worsening of a health care system that was already in disrepair before the health crisis and everything we have been calling out for the past two years. I couldn’t hold back my tears because I finally felt understood.”

Sonia Hamdouchy
Founder of the association Collectif Blouses blanches for fundamental freedoms

700 families represented

Beyond her personal situation, the president of the association intended to represent the 700 families that her volunteers accompany with food collections or festive events, such as the Christmas of suspended caregivers.

Contrary to the Minister of health, François Braun, who stated on his Twitter account that “conspiracy won over science during the debates in the Assembly”, Sonia Hamdouchy considers that the voice of the people was heard in the vote of parliamentarians:

If a new epidemic occurs, a new law will be necessary”, insists the one who refuses to be qualified as anti-vax, assuring that the refusal of the injection is above all linked to a lack of hindsight on the possible side effects. “The citizens will then be able to express themselves through the voices of their deputies.”

Back to work on May 15

Pending the upcoming review of the text by the Senate, the suspended healthcare workers should be able to return to work from mid-May 2023, the Minister of Health having announced the publication of a decree in this sense.

Twenty months of banishment

September 15, 2021: As of this date, all persons working in public or private care, medico-social and social establishments must be vaccinated against Covid 19. The obligation concerns doctors and nurses as well as firefighters, ambulance drivers or home care workers.

October 15, 2021: Health care workers who cannot justify a complete vaccination schedule are suspended from their duties, unless there is a recognized medical contraindication.

January 30, 2022: The booster dose becomes mandatory for healthcare professionals.

July 22, 2022: Following the opinion of the High Authority of Health (HAS), the government opposes for the first time the reinstatement of unvaccinated caregivers.

November 29, 2022: The deputy of Aude (French county) Frédéric Falcon is the rapporteur of a bill, a copy of the one filed by the group “La France insoumise”, “to reinstate and compensate suspended staff.” A text referred to the Committee on Social Affairs of the National Assembly after a heated debate in the chamber.

March 30, 2023: The HAS recommends the lifting of the mandatory vaccination against Covid 19 for the nursing staff while maintaining that the vaccination remains “strongly recommended”. The Ministry of Health assures in the wake that “around 0.3%” of hospital workers have been suspended.

April 28, 2023: While visiting the Marne County, Health Minister François Braun announced the publication of a decree for the reinstatement of unvaccinated healthcare workers by mid-May. This would suspend the 2021 law without repealing it.

May 4, 2023: Not willing to wait until then, the deputy of Guyana Jean-Victor Castor (GDR-Nupes) has developed a bill to repeal the mandatory vaccination and reinstate caregivers. A text adopted at first reading in the National Assembly (157 votes for, 137 against), thanks to the vote of the various opposition groups and against the advice of the government. It is now up to the senators to consider the issue. The date of the examination of the text is not yet known.

Minister François Braun not spared

“If we don’t show up at our work place on May 15th, it will be considered as an abandonment of post, which will lead to a loss of rights, especially to unemployment,” warns Sonia Hamdouchy.

In the media, voices are being heard announcing a difficult return for the suspended. “The non-vaccinated are not necessarily welcomed back with open arms,” said Minister François Braun. Wrong, according to Sonia.

“The minister is trying to divide and conquer,” says Sonia Hamdouchy. “What the colleagues inside will see above all is the arrival of reinforcements in a dramatic context of lack of resources. The epidemic has only aggravated already very difficult working conditions.”

The fight continues

After the legislative phase, a judicial sequence is coming for the suspended healthcare workers:

“This vaccination obligation has had serious consequences on those who refused it. Some found themselves sleeping in their cars. There have been suicides, separations, parents deprived of their parental authority, important psychological disorders… “– Sonia Hamdouchy

A petition is still circulating

All those prejudices require repair, according to the associative leader. She also demands the retroactive payment of salaries for the suspended staff.

A petition in this sense has already collected more than 1,300 signatures. 

“Our association will mandate lawyers to represent the health care workers individually in these proceedings,” she said.

Originally published by 78actu

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