Luxembourg won't force healthcare workers to take jab
Luxembourg's government won't force healthcare workers treating the sick and elderly to be vaccinated against Covid-19, Health Minister Paulette Lenert said on Thursday, even if hospitals make getting the jab a condition of employment.
Luxembourg's vaccination campaign will remain voluntary, which means doctors or nurses who refused to get vaccinated will continue to face persuasion and not penalties, Lenert wrote in her response to a lawmaker's question.
The country's compliance efforts should convince health workers "that the vaccines are indispensable and the best protection for themselves and for the vulnerable people with [whom] they are in contact," Lenert wrote.
Thought neighbouring France is scheduled to require healthcare and nursing staff to be vaccinated from mid-September, that condition will not apply to French residents employed in Luxembourg's healthcare sector, Lenert said.
The health minister earlier this month said she thought that hospitals and other healthcare employers were justified in making vaccinations a job requirement for new employees, after Luxembourg's CHL hospital chain said it would only hire new employees that have received the one. In April, the Mondorf spa, which also performs medical treatments, made headlines as it was the first healthcare institution to require employees to get the jab or be tested frequently instead.
The new president of Luxembourg's hospitals federation last month urged the government to make vaccines compulsory for healthcare workers. The Federation of Luxembourg Hospitals (Fédération des hôpitaux luxembourgeois) wanted the government to revisit the issue after a mandatory testing requirement for care homes and hospitals was dropped from legislation last month, Dr. Philippe Turk said told public broadcaster RTL.
Just under two-thirds of Luxembourg's population has received the protection of at least one vaccine dose compared to 72% in Belgium, 71% in France and 64% in Germany, according to the University of Oxford's Our World in Data research project.
This means Luxembourg is still well short of the 80% to 85% immunity rate required to reach herd immunity - when the virus is petering out because it has run out of people to infect.