Emmanuel Macron’s health chief told to resign as GPs fume over vaccine delivery ‘ban’

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French GPs learned by email from Jerome Salomon on Sunday evening that they would not receive vaccine doses this week. The news sparked the fury of doctors across the country, calling for the immediate resignation of Mr Salomon.

France is still lagging behind most EU countries with its vaccination programme.

In Bordeaux, doctor Antoine Mesnier called his pharmacist on Monday morning because he wanted to be sure that his AstraZeneca vials would be delivered to him.

He was told: “We have a ban on delivery for GPs this week, we have to wait.”

Doctors Nicolas Brugère and Christophe Adam in Bordeaux experienced the same issue.

And doctor Laure Scotto di Vettimo in Sainte-Foy-la-Grande said: “We all received an email last night from the Directorate General of Health saying: for the week of March 8, the order will only be open for pharmacies.

“How do I do? Last week, I vaccinated 42 people, all appointments are made.”

Doctor Brugère blasted: “They are stopping us; one in two doctors in France is vaccinating and things are going well.

“People go to their appointments, the expectation is strong.

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“This decision is unbelievable.”

The union of general practitioners MG France asked this morning for the resignation of Mr Salomon, and the same was done by the Confederation of French medical unions in Gironde and Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

François Martial, pharmacist in Gironde, chairs the URPS of pharmacists in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. He also learned “the news” on Monday morning.

He said: “Since the Prime Minister’s announcement on March 4, we have been allowed to be vaccinators. But we can only order from Monday March 8, and now we are told we will not be operational until March 17-18.”

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Vaccination appointment books are full for the next few weeks.

In a letter to Mr Salomon, MG France wrote: “This decision, if it were to be confirmed, would entail the need to cancel all appointments scheduled by GPs.

“So that the vaccination campaign does not become another French failure in the fight against the virus: MG France demands that the ministry gives the necessary instructions so that the needs of the doctors are all met.

“MG France requests that the functions of those responsible for this unbelievable decision be terminated, including the signatory of this message, Jérôme Salomon.

“MG France asks general practitioners to ask their pharmacist for the doses ordered and to renew their next order as of today.”

It comes as the French Government threatened health workers with mandatory vaccinations on Monday after it was revealed only 40 percent of them had come forward to be jabbed.

The French President’s government said on Monday the level of COVID-19 vaccine uptake among those working in healthcare settings “is not acceptable”.

Gabriel Attal, the government spokesman, told Le Parisien newspaper: “For the last year our health workers have been heroic, but the vaccination rate among them today is not acceptable.”

He added: “It would be irresponsible to refuse to be vaccinated when one is a health worker… Everyone is rolling up their sleeves to get us out of this epidemic.

“Now they have to roll them up to the shoulder to get vaccinated.”

Mr Attal said the government will continue to encourage healthcare workers to come forward and get the jab but that making it mandatory “remains a possibility”.

France is one of the most vaccine-sceptic countries globally, though surveys have shown the proportion of the public intending to get inoculated increasing.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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