Europe, US flirt with mandatory vaccinations for public sector

Madrid Desk, Jul 28 (EFE).- Amid a surge of Covid-19 infections fuelled by the Delta variant, several European countries have chosen or are considering imposing mandatory vaccinations for health care workers, teachers and other public-facing employees.

However, other countries with successful vaccination campaigns such as Portugal and Belgium have brushed off the idea.

The United States is also “considering” the possibility of making vaccines obligatory for roughly 4 million federal government public servants, while the Department of Veteran Affairs on Monday became the first major federal agency to require some 28% of its 412,900 workers to be jabbed in the next two months.

The state of California also said it would force its public employees to be inoculated, and New York City followed with the same imposition for 340,000 city servants. Alternatively they will have to undergo weekly testing from mid-September.

Greece was one of the first countries in Europe to force nursing home and health care workers to vaccinate, but stopped short of including teachers, as workers in the education sector have reached a 70% vaccination rate.

The United Kingdom intends to make vaccinations mandatory for nursing home workers starting in October, and might extend the obligation to health care workers as well.

Local media reported that university students who wish to attend courses in person might also be forced to get inoculated.

The French government drafted a law in early July to make inoculation mandatory in health care and for workers in contact with vulnerable groups, hoping to upend its stalling vaccination rates.

The law was passed in Parliament and is undergoing constitutional council review before finally entering into force, which is expected in the coming days and will enforce the obligatory vaccination by September 15 of firefighters, psychiatrists, civil security and military personnel, and nursing home workers, among others.

In contrast, the measure is not on the table in Portugal, Belgium or Spain, where vaccination campaigns have had tremendous success with little need to boost them through restrictions and disciplinary measures.

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