Covid-19: why French carehome staff are refusing the vaccine

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The French government has announced a target of administering one million jabs of the Covid-19 vaccine by the end of January. Priority for the voluntary jab has been given to the elderly and healthcare workers, but it appears that a significant number of staff in the country’s carehomes are refusing to be vaccinated over fears they have of potential side effects. Cécile Andrzejewski has been speaking to carehome workers across France about their scepticism, which they say is based on past incoherencies and U-turns in government policy to the coronavirus epidemic.   

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Véronique (last name withheld) recently received a call from the carehome where her elderly father is a resident, asking for her decision on whether or not he should be vaccinated against Covid-19. As France rolls out the vaccination programme, for which the elderly and a section of healthcare staff are made a priority, the regulations for administering the jab stipulate that a person can only be vaccinated with their consent or, if their mental state does not allow for making the choice, that of a guardian or a pre-designated “person of confidence”.